Resetting Governance part one

2020

The enormity of the events that 2020 has presented us, is almost impossible to quantify. However, school governance has always been steeped in challenges, social issues, financial restrictions, workload and wellbeing, governor recruitment and succession planning in an ever-changing educational landscape. It isn’t a surprise therefore that governors and trustees have stepped up and emerged into a new version of their governance roles.

Covid-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, changing how we live, breathe, work, shop and socialise both with family and friends. It has affected the lives of the children and young people in our nurseries, schools, alternative provision and colleges in ways that are still yet to be fully understood. We are all in recovery while still mid-event.

Our school leaders are stretched beyond what is healthy, our school communities are looking ever harder at each school to ensure they are safeguarding their children while not over-reacting either. Within this careful balancing act, governors stand to support and provide a calm space for their Headteachers to lean into. Although the situation with Covid-19 has certainly provided many distinct challenges, as governors we already know safeguarding, we understand the importance of health and safety in our risk assessments and policy compliance. We highly value those in our schools and already consider their wellbeing and workload. So, we are already highly equipped with the skills to support our schools through this time. However, more than ever before, we cannot do this alone, the ask is too great, even for the most experienced governor. We need to support each other as governors and that is what NGN is all about.

For us all, at Norfolk Governance Network it has been equally challenging in our respective schools. Where we represent governors at the county level, these meetings have also moved to virtual, the work continues because the need continues. It has been highly reassuring to see the resilience and flexibility in this new approach by all agencies. The huge wealth of online governance courses and webinars has also been very reassuring and useful. There has certainly been a steep learning curve as there has been for many boards across the county, however, governance at all levels has continued and this should be applauded.

Feeling Valued, Staying Connected

Norfolk Governance Network Autumn Conference 2019 - Mark Deveney - De-mystifying Mental Health
Mark Deveney at our 2019 conference

Each autumn, NGN hosts a conference. In 2019 our theme was Feeling Valued, Staying Connected…. we had no idea then what we would be facing in 2020 but the theme underlies the work of NGN and of governance. We value the vital role of good governance and of each governor and trustee and the positive impact we can make for our leaders, staff, children and communities. Staying connected at all levels can be more of a challenge, particularly over the last six months. This is a key aim for NGN and we look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible. This also helps us to ensure that our representation meets your needs, context and visions so that we can all work together for the children in Norfolk.

Earlier this summer it soon became clear that we would not be able to meet in person at our planned autumn conference. From our own governor networks we realised that the need to get together was more important than ever. So, for 2020 we are holding our first virtual conference, welcome to Resetting Governance.