The Clerking Competency Framework: Part 1

Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at an overview of the different competencies within the DfE’s Clerking Competency Framework which outlines the skills and knowledge expected from a professional Clerk.

The four clerking competencies are:

  1. Understanding governance​
  2. Administration ​
  3. Advice & guidance ​
  4. People & relationships

​Reminder – the role of the clerk

The role of the clerk is to ensure the efficient functioning of the board by: ​​

  •  providing administrative and organisational support ​– including meetings ​​
  •  giving guidance to ensure that the board works in compliance with the appropriate legal and regulatory framework, and understands the potential consequences for non-compliance​​
  •  taking and maintaining accurate records including minutes and statutory information​

Understanding governance

It is important for Clerks to have a basic understanding of school governance including:

  • the 8 elements of effective governance​
  • the duties and functions of the Clerk
  • statutory regulations (such as School Governance Regulations and Academy Trust Handbook (Academy Trusts only))
  • guidance (such as The Governance Handbook and Competency Framework for Governance)
  • school specific documentation (such as Instrument of Government and Articles of Association (Academy Trusts only))
  • different types of schools, their governance structures and accountability
  • different types of governor and how they are appointed/elected
  • what is expected in terms of governance compliance including record keeping and data
  • The culture, code of conduct and strategic vision of the board

Note – as Clerk, you are not expected to know all the different regulations and guidance off the top of your head; however, you need to know either where to find the information (such as from one of the documents listed above) or who to ask (such as Pro Clerking!)

Coming up next week – The Clerking Competency Framework Part 2

Want to receive Pro Clerking newsletters and updates directly to your inbox?  Subscribe here.

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming Pro Clerking Workshops

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Preparing for 2022-23 (Monthly Mini Guide Sneak Peek)

In this week’s blog post I’ll be giving you a sneak peak of the August 2022 monthly mini guide in the Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 to help you start getting prepared for the 2022-23 academic year.

The Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 has been designed to support Clerks, Governance Professionals and Company Secretaries working at all levels and within all education settings from maintained schools to academy trusts and higher education.

Each planner includes:

• Annual Plan – agenda, policies, visits etc, governance structure
• Master checklists – including compliance and statutory requirements
• Start and end of year checklists
• CPD tracker
• Termly overview – including key dates, agenda items and compliance checks for the term
• Monthly overview
• Weekly planner
• Annual review – what went well, what could be done better year etc.
PLUS monthly mini guides for everything from compliance and agenda setting to CPD and career development for governance professionals.

Find a sneak peak of the August 2022 monthly mini guide – preparing for 2023-24 (or 2022-23 in your case!) below:

Happy planning!

Sneak Peek

*Planners will be dispatched in June 2022!*

Want to receive Pro Clerking newsletters and updates directly to your inbox?  Subscribe here.

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming Pro Clerking Workshops

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Pro Clerking Newsletter – June 2022

The Pro Clerking Monthly Newsletter for June 2022 is now available via the link below:

Including:

  • Good to know:  Sector updates
  • Latest on the blog
  • Spotlight on:  Pro Clerking’s 3 steps to compliance
  • Top links

Remember Pro Clerking GVO members get 20% off all workshops plus you can email me at elliehully@proclerking.com to arrange to be invoiced.

Want to receive Pro Clerking newsletters and updates directly to your inbox?  Subscribe here.

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming Pro Clerking Workshops

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 – Sneak Peek & Update!

The prototype for the Pro Clerking Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 has arrived and I couldn’t be more pleased!

This A4 planner contains everything you need to keep you organised (and sane!) for 2022-23 including:

• Annual Plan – agenda, policies, visits etc, governance structure
• Master checklists – including compliance and statutory requirements
• Start and end of year checklists
• CPD tracker
• Termly overview – including key dates, agenda items and compliance checks for the term
• Monthly overview
• 12 monthly “quick guides” – including policy management, evidencing effective governance, new Governor induction checklist etc.
• Weekly planner
• Annual review – what went well, what could be done better year etc.
And more!

*Planners will be dispatched in June 2022!*

Sneak Peek

Want to receive Pro Clerking newsletters and updates directly to your inbox?  Subscribe here.

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming Pro Clerking Workshops

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Introduction to the NGA’s Governance Professional’s Career Framework

Earlier this month the National Governance Association (NGA) held its first Governance Professional’s Career Framework focus group online meeting. 

Background

The NGA has “made a commitment to collaborating with governance professionals and other interested parties to develop a career pathway for the profession” with the aim of launching their framework at the end of 2022. 

The framework aims to:

  • Be an online resource relevant to current and new governance professionals from all backgrounds
  • Cover all education sectors
  • Contain explanatory roles (see levels below) and supporting resources

Three working title levels

The NGA have suggested the following (non-exclusive) working titles, with the aim to provide guidance on the roles associated with each level, individual requirements and pay benchmarks:

  • Clerking:  Typically, those whose role will be to deliver the board’s clerking requirements
  • Governance Co-ordinator:  Typically, those who are a governance officer within a MAT, clerking service manager or regional governance co-ordinator for a group of schools. In most cases their role will involve clerking, but with the addition of line managing clerks, co-ordinating governance support activities across a number of schools and supporting the lead governance professional level to provide strategic and operational direction
  • Lead Governance Professional:  Typically, those who are part of the central support team.  In most cases this will involve line management and strategic and operational development of governance structure

Further explanatory guidance includes:

  • The most common entry routes associated with each level
  • An outline of duties contained in most job descriptions associated with a particular level
  • Individual requirements in terms of standard of education, experience, specialist qualifications, knowledge, skills and attributes
  • Pay – to provide a current market estimate pay/pay region based on benchmarking
  • Training and development – the ongoing CPD requirements that are associated with a particular level

The role of the focus group

The focus group meetings have been set up to help shape the NGA’s framework from a variety of different roles and backgrounds, including self-employed governance professionals, trainers and professional networks.

The first focus group meeting, held earlier this month, looked at the suggested levels (as above), key messages around progression and professional growth and the explanatory content for each level.

The focus group was asked to consider the suggested levels and explanatory guidance, any roles or entry routes that should be more visible, the role and duties of a company secretary and where this should sit within the framework, the information required about working as a governance professional at each level and career pathway opportunities including as a self-employed governance professional.

Initial thoughts from Pro Clerking

When I first heard about the NGA’s plan to develop a career framework for governance professionals I jumped at the chance of being part of the focus group.  Since starting Pro Clerking in 2019 I have always been keen to share how the role of a Clerk or governance professional can be developed into a professional career, as you will see from my website:

Pro-Clerking promises to:
EQUIP Clerks with up-to-date resources and information
ENABLE Clerks to join a supportive community, collaborate with their peers and have the opportunity to progress their professional development
EMPOWER 
Clerks to acknowledge the importance of their role and have the confidence to provide solid and meaningful advice on governance, constitutional and procedural matters

I really valued being part of the focus group and not only hearing about the work the NGA have ben doing but to also hear input and opinions from other governance professionals.  For me, the highlights of these conversations came out as the necessity of ensuring the framework inclusively includes ALL sectors rather than being academy or MAT heavy, the inclusion of a company secretary as a separate role and how those wishing to become self-employed or even set up their own clerking business can be best supported. 

With all of this in mind, I’d love to share that Pro Clerking will be launching a career development workshop, to include information on setting up as a self-employed clerk or starting your own business.  I will also be sharing a case study of my professional background and progression with the NGA as part of the development of their framework – watch this space!

Upcoming workshops

Exclusions Workshop in collaboration with Sarah Shortt from Brighter Futures for Children – Monday 23rd May 10-12pm, £50.40

Compliance Workshop – Wednesday 22nd and Monday 27th June 10-12pm, £30

I could also run an additional Company Secretary Workshop if there is enough interest.

View and book onto upcoming workshops here – want to receive 20% off all workshops? Why not consider joining our FREE Pro Clerking GVO Community?

All my best

Ellie

elliehully@proclerking.com

The Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 is now available!

Planners will be dispatched in June 2022 – find out more and order your planner here

Coming soon…..

The Clerking with Confidence Academy – a self-paced online course with pick n mix modules – enrolment for 2022-23 opening soon!

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Pro Clerking Newsletter – May 2022

The Pro Clerking Monthly Newsletter for May 2022 is now available via the link below:

Including:

  • Good to know:  Sector updates
  • Latest on the blog
  • Spotlight on:  Upcoming workshops
  • Top links

Remember Pro Clerking GVO members get 20% off all workshops plus you can email me at elliehully@proclerking.com to arrange to be invoiced.

Want to receive Pro Clerking newsletters and updates directly to your inbox?  Subscribe here.

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming Pro Clerking Workshops

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

The DfE’s Schools White Paper: What does it mean for Governance?

As I’m sure you are aware, at the end of March the DfE released their widely awaited white paper – Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child.

The paper provided an insight into future national education policy and, as expected, had a strong indication towards a full trust based education system in the UK with the majority of schools (90%) being within or in the process of joining a MAT by 2030. It is worth noting at this point that the white paper is not legally mandated – but rather to set out the Government’s vision for education policy.

The paper is separated into 4 clear chapters:

  1. School improvement and what is needed for the teaching profession
  2. Curriculum and the minimum expectation of the length of the school week
  3. Targeted support including the parent pledge on engagement and broadening the use of pupil premium funding
  4. A stronger and fairer school system – aka the move to a fully trust based education system

What does a stronger and fairer school system mean?

The DfE is focusing on the development of a “family of schools” and aims to have all schools within or joining a “strong trust” by 2030. A “strong trust” exhibits:

  • High quality and inclusive education
  • School improvement
  • Strategic governance
  • Strong and effective financial management
  • A strong workforce including prioritisation of staff wellbeing

What does strategic governance look like within a “strong trust”?

  • An effective and robust governance structure
  • The involvement of schools and exemplification of ethical standards
  • Utilising the expertise and skills on it’s board to oversee strategic direction and hold senior leaders to account
  • Inclusion of a strong local identity that effectively engages with parents and members of the wider community

Local governance arrangements

The paper was very clear about the continued need for trust’s to have local governance arrangement in place. The NGA has suggested some key local governance expectations including:

  • The importance of separation between the 3 distinct governance layers within a trust (Members/Trustees/Local Governance) to ensure accountability but also the need for 2-way communication and clear delegation between each layer
  • The investment in lead governance professionals to provide professional, expert advice
  • The acceptance of meaningful challenge
  • For local governance to be formed of local volunteers, not executives
  • For Trust Boards to be visible to local governance and local governors having input in the performance management and recruitment of headteachers as well as contribute to school improvement and be aware of the school’s budget plan
  • For a trust-wide development plan that encourages local governors to learn from schools outside their trust

Other key take home points

  • The DfE wants to eliminate the number of “empty” MATs with a trajectory for Trusts to have a minimum of 7,500 pupils or 10 schools
  • No upper limit has been placed on the number of pupils or schools within a MAT but organisations will not be be able to run indefinitely without excellent outcomes
  • Better regulatory procedures will be put in place for trusts including new statutory intervention powers
  • Good and outstanding schools may request being moved to a stronger trust in exceptional circumstances
  • Local Authorities will remain at the heart of the education system with new powers to deliver legal responsibilities
  • New standards will be introduced for MATs including collaboration standards to ensure the best outcomes for children

Additional thoughts and next steps

Although the white paper didn’t particularly hold any new huge announcements it was useful to have clarity on the DfE’s strategic vision for national education policy and reflect on where we are within our own establishments. The big take-home items for me would be the recognition of the need for investment in lead Governance Professionals, the continued need for local governance (and so local Clerks) and the LA’s continued role at the heart of the education system.

What are your thoughts on the white paper? Has this kick-started any conversations within your establishment?

Upcoming workshops

Clerking with Confidence Workshop Summer 1 – Monday 16th May 10-12pm, £15

Exclusions Workshop in collaboration with Sarah Shortt from Brighter Futures for Children – Monday 23rd May 10-12pm, £50.40

Compliance Workshop – Wednesday 22nd June 10-12pm, £30

I could also run an additional Company Secretary Workshop if there is enough interest.

View and book onto upcoming workshops here – want to receive 20% off all workshops? Why not consider joining our FREE Pro Clerking GVO Community?

All my best

Ellie

elliehully@proclerking.com

The Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 is now available for pre-order!

Planners due to be shipped June 2022 – find out more and pre-order your planner here

Coming soon…..

The Clerking with Confidence Academy – a self-paced online course with pick n mix modules – enrolment for 2022-23 opening soon!

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

NGA’s Governance Professional’s Conference Round-up 2022

Welcome back to to the summer 1 term! I hope you all had a restful Easter break and have come back fully refreshed for the term ahead. Here at Pro Clerking it’s an incredibly busy (and short!) term with lots of workshops, client training and of course the launch of the Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23.

At the end of March the NGA held their 2022 Governance Professional’s Conference so I thought it would be nice to do a summary round-up of key take home points for those who weren’t able to attend.

Day 1 of the conference focused on the introduction of a career pathway for Governance Professionals (GPs), the growing MAT sector and implications for GPs and reviewing governance including the launch of the NGA’s 20 and 21 questions. Day 2 the covered legal updates and the role of the Company Secretary.

Of course, the slight elephant in the room was the DfE’s newly published Schools White Paper which includes the aimed move towards MATs. Due to timing, the conference didn’t focus any more on this in particular; however, I will be summarising the White Paper and any implications for GPs in next week’s blog post.

Key take home points

  • The NGA is committed to creating a career pathway for GPs
  • This includes qualifications, roles, entry level, case studies, CPD expectations and pay benchmarking
  • Suggested 3 distinct levels – Clerking level, Governance co-ordinator level and Lead Governance Professional Level
  • The NGA are seeking volunteers to be part of a focus group – first meeting Tuesday 10th May 2-3pm – email amy.wright@nga.org.uk
  • The growing MAT sector – to be covered in next week’s blog post
  • The NGA has re-evaluated and refreshed it’s 20 questions to better reflect changes in governance and to ensure board self-review is both proportionate and impactful
  • The review, including a consultation period, resulted in an updated structure – 20 questions for single schools, 21 questions for Trust Boards and 15 questions for academy committees
  • The NGA highly recommend using RAG (red, amber, green) rating for self-evaluations to highlight areas of strength and those that potentially need work
  • The conference highlighted other ways of conducting reviews including Chair’s 360, annual informal Board member evaluation and external reviews of governance
  • Mark Blois from Browne Jacobson provided a legal update including the following: provision of virtual meetings, noting the need for Academy Trusts to ensure meetings are held in line with their Articles, provisions to change how admission appeals operate have been extended to September 2022, statutory timescales for exclusions now apply as usual with updated regulations expected this autumn and proposed changes to KCSIE 2022 including GBs and proprietors will need to ensure that all governors and trustees receive appropriate safeguarding training at induction and such training should be regularly updated
  • The role of the Company Secretary including the following: bridge between governance and management – in all honesty I felt the speaker missed the mark with his presentation and talked more about the general role of GPs rather than the specific role of a Company Secretary

Additional thoughts and next steps

I found the discussion about a career path for GPs really interesting as this is something I already value and have thought about in depth as part of Pro Clerking and how I can support Clerks and GPs to see their role as a fulfilling career in which you can progress. More on this in a later blog post.

As a follow up to several of the points raised at the conference I would like to invite you to join the following workshops:

Clerking with Confidence Workshop Summer 1 – Monday 16th May 10-12pm, currently at early bird offer price of £9.60

Exclusions Workshop in collaboration with Sarah Shortt from Brighter Futures for Children – Monday 23rd May 10-12pm, £50.40

Compliance Workshop – Wednesday 22nd June 10-12pm, £30

I could also run an additional Company Secretary Workshop if there is enough interest.

View and book onto upcoming workshops here – want to receive 20% off all workshops? Why not consider joining our FREE Pro Clerking GVO Community?

All my best

Ellie

elliehully@proclerking.com

The Governance Professional’s Annual Planner 2022-23 is now available for pre-order!

Planners due to be shipped June 2022 – find out more and pre-order your planner here

Coming soon…..

The Clerking with Confidence Academy – a self-paced online course with pick n mix modules – enrolment for 2022-23 opening soon!

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Pro Clerking Newsletter – April 2022

The Pro Clerking Monthly Newsletter for April 2022 is now available via the link below:

Including:

  • Good to know:  Sector updates
  • Spotlight on:  Clerking Exclusions Panels Workshop 
  • Upcoming workshops – Remember Pro Clerking GVO members get 20% off all workshops using GVO2022 at checkout (or email me at elliehully@proclerking.com to arrange to be invoiced)

Want to receive Pro Clerking newsletters and updates directly to your inbox?  Subscribe here.

All my best

Ellie

Upcoming Pro Clerking Workshops

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.

Spotlight on: Governor Recruitment & Diversity

One of NGA’s 8 elements of effective governance is having the “right people around the table”. From evaluating your current board to succession planning and governor recruitment, ensuring you have an effective governing board of volunteers, including recruiting from underrepresented groups, is not always an easy task!

The NGA’s updated Right People Around the Table guidance provides practical advice on governor recruitment, including prioritising diversity. The NGA’s Skills Audit has also been renamed the Skills and Diversity Audit.

Here are some top tips to help you create a robust governor recruitment process:

Be transparent

Ensure vacancies are transparent around what governance looks like both more generally and in your specific setting. Ensure you include information about the role, eligibility and responsibility of governors in addition to expectations in terms of time, travel and availability. Also remember to make it clear how to apply or ask for more information.

Use a wide range of channels

By opening up your recruitment process to a wide range of channels you are actively encouraging diversity. From local media to Linkedin and twitter – think outside the box!

Actively encourage diversity

“A diverse Board brings greater awareness of the different challenges experienced by the communities we serve. It reduces blind spots and leads to better decision-making”

Kam Kothia, Chair of Trustees at Star Academies

Set a culture for equality and diversity as a fundamental believe and guiding principle for the evolution of your Board to ensure it best serves the commities it supports. Create an inclusion culture by inviting and welcoming both challenge and support.

Consider peer on peer review

Peer on peer review of your recruitment process can offer key insights into where you could improve inclusivity and diversity.

Be visible

As well as being transparent around governance, help potential applicants to understand the role of governance in your setting by being actively visible in your role and encourage meaningful engagement with stakeholders.

Have a high quality induction process

Ensure a high-quality induction process for all governors is in place. On the flip side, encourage fresh perspectives with meaningful succession planning.

What would you add to this list? What barriers do you face with governor recruitment? Have you considered the diviersity and incluivity of your Board?

All my best

Ellie

Summer workshop dates will be circulated soon!

Have you joined our Free Pro Clerking GVO community? Find out more here.