to strengthen school, academy and MAT governance through the development of effective governors, members, directors who are well equipped to hold to account, challenge and support leaders and leadership teams to better deliver themes for children and young people.

Effective Governance

Effective governance is critical to school improvement and the ambition of transforming leadership and developing a culture of high expectations, impact and challenge. Governance features decisively in the current Ofsted framework and is imperative to securing improved outcomes for children and young people. Therefore, the effective development and support for school and academy governors, members and directors is essential if we are to successfully achieve these aims and ambitions.

Governor Development

As a result, Governor Development continues to be core area of work for Learners First. The Learners First approach to governance and governor development is based on the same premise as the approach to leadership development and school-to-school support; individuals undertaking roles related to school and academy governance should have the opportunity to learn from and work with the very best individuals within the field.

Programmes and Events

The programmes and events outlined below are taking place in the autumn term have been developed by Learners First in partnership with a range of headteachers and National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) in response to local need and are open to governors from all phases, contexts and schools. This overview is not designed to be a complete offer; further opportunities will continue to be added and developed in response to feedback, demand and local and national priorities.

Programme schedule 2018

To book a place on the programmes please email

An email receipt confirming your booking will be sent by return.

Dates, times and venues

Clerks Development Programme

Learners First is delighted to have been accredited by the DfE as part of a collaboration of Teaching Schools from across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber region to deliver the new nationally accredited Clerk Development Programme. Designed and developed by lead professionals in the field, this programme offers both experienced and new clerks a fantastic opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills and expertise to support high quality clerking and effective governance.

DfE logo

Session 1 of 4 – 22nd October 2018

Session 2 of 4 – 20th November 2018

Session 3 of 4 – 05th December 2018

Session 4 of 4 – 31st January 2019

Download full details below…


Induction for New Governors

The 4 week ING programme aims to support new governors to play an active and valuable part in their governing body from an
early stage. The programme is relevant for governors from all phases and settings and is organised into four core sessions that
look at moral purpose, strategic leadership, accountability and the role of governors as a critical friend. Attendance at all four
sessions is required. The programme aims to support new governors to better understand:

− the role of governing bodies and why they exist
− how to be an effective member of a governing body
− the key roles and responsibilities of governing bodies in contributing to school improvement
− the different and complementary roles of the headteacher and the governing body
− roles of different stakeholders and their relationship with the governing body

All sessions are from 6.00 – 8.00pm

Session 1 of 4 – 23rd October 2018

Session 2 of 4 – 06th November 2018

Session 3 of 4 – 13th November 2018

Session 4 of 4 – 20th November 2018

Session 1 of 4 – 15th January 2019

Session 2 of 4 – 22nd January 2019

Session 3 of 4 – 29th January 2019

Session 4 of 4 – 05th February 2019


The Pod, Canklow Woods Primary School, Wood Lane, Rotherham S60 2XJ

Clerks Briefing and Network sessions

Clerks provide a key role in advising governors on a range of governance, constitutional and procedural matters. The briefing sessions provide an opportunity to ensure key issues are being considered and addressed through focussed agendas for Board and committee meetings as well as providing opportunities for collaborative discussion and sharing of effective practice.

Autumn briefing – 5.30pm – 7.30pm

22nd October 2018

The Holiday Inn, West Bawtry Road, Rotherham S60 2XL

Spring – 31st January 2019

Summer – 11th April 2019

Safer Recruitment

Learners First, in collaboration with Services 4 Schools (S4S), is delighted to be able to offer Governors the opportunity to access
Safer Recruitment training through its governor development curriculum.

Organisations and individuals who work with children and young people, or are involved in providing services for them, have a
duty to safeguard and promote their welfare. If you recruit staff and/or volunteers into the children and young people’s
workforce, you should be trained in safer recruitment practices.

In particular, schools and education settings are becoming increasingly accountable for safeguarding children when recruiting
and selecting staff. For maintained schools, it has also been mandatory since 1 January 2010 for any staff appointments to be
made by a recruitment panel with at least one member trained in safer recruitment.

The course covers a range of safeguarding issues including:- safer recruitment and the wider context of safeguarding; prevalence of abuse and profile of abusers; how abusers operate within organisations; features of a safer recruitment process; planning a safer recruitment process; making the right decisions: interview and selection; setting acceptable standards of behaviour; maintaining an ongoing culture of vigilance.

11.00am – 4.30pm

24th October 2018

The Holiday Inn, West Bawtry Road, Rotherham S60 2XL

11th April 2019


The safeguarding programme details are being finalised and will be available shortly.

6.00pm – 8.00pm

20th November 2018

The Pod, Canklow Woods Primary School, Wood Lane, Rotherham S60 2XJ

06th June 2019

Governing Body Self Evaluation

Strong governance is essential for good schools. In many schools though governing bodies are not as effective or confident as
they would like to be. The key role of governing bodies is to support and challenge headteachers in order to ensure pupils
receive the best possible education. In the changing educational landscape governing bodies need support and challenge too.

Led by Liz Buxton, NLG, this session will focus on improving governance through self-evaluation and why this is so important,
particularly in the light of current Ofsted expectations. The session will explore strategies a governing body might use to gain an
insight into its own effectiveness and how planning for further development of the governing body might be approached.

6.00pm – 8.00pm

24th October 2018

The Pod, Canklow Woods Primary School, Wood Lane, Rotherham S60 2XJ

6.00pm – 8.00pm

12th March 2019

School Funding – an introduction

This workshop will provide governors with an opportunity to understand how the school funding system works and consider and discuss some of the changes and challenges on the horizon.

Key areas covered will include:- the funding system and drivers of funding to schools; the core elements of a school budget; key indicators in assessing the financial health of a school; the national funding formula; managing risk.

5.00pm – 7.00pm

23rd October 2018

Venue: To be confirmed

The Academies Financial Handbook and Financial Notices to Improve : lessons learned

The Academies Financial Handbook is the main reference tool to support academies apply good financial management. The Handbook sets out the requirements Trusts are required to follow and is updated on an annual basis. This workshop will explore some of the changes made in the September 2018 edition and provide an opportunity for Trustees/Directors of Boards and members of local governing bodies (LGBs) to reflect and discuss areas of practice and consider the governance issues where the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have found it necessary to issue financial notices to improve.

5.00pm – 7.00pm

12th November 2018

The Pod, Canklow Woods Primary School, Wood Lane, Rotherham S60 2XJ

Balanced Scorecard : a framework for Trustee oversight of key performance areas

This workshop will provide an introduction to a ‘balanced scorecard’ approach as a means to enhance communications between CEOs and Trustees, streamlining the voluminous accounts of the state of play relating to key components of the MAT which include amongst many others:- performance updates and reports; financial Reports and audits; reports from external bodies e.g. Ofsted, DfE, EFA etc; premises and infrastructure updates; human resource and associated reports and updates. Frequently, the level of detail is beyond that which Executive Leaders and Directors require and subsequently key messages are lost or obscured. The scorecard can help provide a means by which high level data regarding critical areas of performance can be presented in an accessible and meaningful way.

20th November 2018

Additional Governor opportunities will be added throughout the academic year in response to feedback and demand.

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Learners First team if you have any questions regarding the Governor Programme or would like additional information about these events. Regular updates about all Learners First opportunities will be circulated to schools on a regular basis and will also be made via the website.

Contact us:-


Tel: 01709 731272



Guidance on the roles and duties of governing boards, and advice on the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to be effective.

The Department of Education (DfE) released an updated version of the Governance Handbook in January 2017 together with the new Competency Framework for Governors. The following link will take you to the relevant DfE website page should you wish to view or download these documents: