Side By Side Conference – 7th December – Sharing the Ofsted Experience

Dear Chairs of Governors,

Below is a summary of the remaining BESST Governor training and Side By Side conference events this term. Please consider which may be relevant for you and/or your governors to attend and book your places using the links provided.

  1. Side by Side Conference – Sharing the Ofsted Experience – 7th December, 09.30-12.00 (Free, online)


We are very pleased to confirm the programme (hyper-linked and attached) for the next Side by Side conference on the 7th December 2022 which is open to Buckinghamshire school leaders and Governors. The conference is free to all Bucks schools and will be held on Teams from 9.30am to 12pm.

The focus will be Ofsted inspections and we have 3 Buckinghamshire schools presenting their insight, following a recent inspection.  Hear key messages from primary headteachers and feedback from secondary school experiences. This will be an opportunity to hear the key lines of Ofsted inquiry and allow you to be prepared for the phone call.  To book your place visit HERE


  1. Getting the Most out of your Governor Monitoring Visits – 29th November, 18.30-19.30 (£25 pp, online)


An experienced Chair of Governors will talk you through what to think about before your governor monitoring visit, what to expect when you are in school and things to consider after your visit to make sure your governing work has lasting impact. For more information and to book your place visit the BESST Website


  1. Financial Control & Accountability Training – 1st December, 18.30 – 19.30 (£25 pp, online)


The session will focus on the Schools Financial Value Statement, an annual mandatory return for maintained schools. Completing the SFVS self-assessment aims to help your school manage its finances and provide assurances to the local authority that effective financial management is in place. For more information and to book your place visit the BESST Website


  1. Internet Safety, Keeping Children Safe Online – 6th December at 18.30-19.30 (£25 pp, online)


Join Alison Watts, Prevent Education Officer, to learn about new and emerging technologies that young people are using and the potential risks these pose. This session is relevant to all governors, especially those with responsibility for safeguarding. For more information and to book your place visit the BESST Website


We hope to see you at these events and future training from BESST next term.



BESST Governor Training

BESST Governor Training

Summer term 2021/23 and Academic Year 2022/23

Governor training is a vital element in every governing board’s effectiveness. Recognising that Governors need flexibility, we offer a comprehensive ‘pay as you go’ training programme for all governors throughout the academic year.  Delivered by expert Buckinghamshire Council teams and selected partners, the training is tailored to governors within the county.

We are planning for all training in the academic year 2022/23 to be virtually hosted on MS Teams and delivered in the evening. Each session will be delivered by a local expert and will be interactive live courses. The one-hour sessions will be focused on the needs of Buckinghamshire’s governors and will allow plenty of time for ‘what if?’ scenario discussions to ensure the training meets your needs and answers pressing questions.

You can pay for governor training sessions on a pay as you go basis or you can sign up for a package of training to receive a discounted rate. Bronze, Silver and Gold Packages will be offered for the Autumn and Spring terms initially and can be purchased on the shop

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Developing Relationships with the Senior Leadership Team

This session will give practical tips and guidance on forming effective relationships with the Senior Leadership of your school.


More Information
Book Now

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Building an Effective Governing Board – A Guide for Development Governors

This training session, delivered by the BASG, will provide an update on what boards need to do to support the upskilling of governors.


More Information
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Internet Safety – Keeping Children Safe in Education

This training session will support governors in understanding how schools can keep children and young people safe online.


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Embedding Equality and Diversity in your school

This training session will provide Equality Governors with the most recent guidance for schools.


More Information
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Health and Safety for Governors

Join us to understand the role of the Governing Board in Health and Safety. We recommend governors refresh their Health and Safety awareness training every 3 years.


More Information
Book Now

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New Governors End of Year Review

An opportunity for new governors to reflect on their first academic year in post.

More Information
Book Now

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BESST Governor Support & Training

Governor Support & Training

We believe that effective governance is essential to delivering school improvements. By supporting a committed network of governors, we can help to drive systematic change in schools across Buckinghamshire.

The BESST team are building a service to provide advice, information and training opportunities to schools and governing boards to enable them to work effectively and efficiently to promote high standards, fulfil their statutory responsibilities and raise achievement in schools.

Governor Training Packages for the Autumn and Spring terms

The following governor training packages are available to purchase for the Autumn and Spring terms of academic year 2022/23. These packages have been introduced with the aim of enabling governing bodies to cost-effectively plan for training needs.

Bronze Package
Access to 8 (one hour) Governor Training places over to the Autumn and Spring terms. £150 (saving of £50)

Silver Package
Access to 16 (one hour) Governor Training places over the Autumn and Spring terms. £300 (saving of £100)

Gold Package
Access to unlimited (one hour) Governor Training places over the Autumn and Spring terms. £600

Visit our shop to purchase one of these packages

Governor Training

Governor training is a vital element in every governing board’s effectiveness.  Recognising that governors need flexibility, we offer a comprehensive ‘pay as you go’ training programme for all governors throughout the academic year.  Delivered by expert Buckinghamshire Council teams and selected partners, the training is tailored to governors within the county.

Read more about this offer

NGA Membership

We are pleased to be able to offer Buckinghamshire schools a discount on membership to the National Governance Association. In 2022/2 maintained schools will receive a 50% discount on NGA standard membership.

Read More about this offer

New Governor Welcome Package

We are committed to ensuring newly appointed governors are up to speed and effective in their roles as quickly as possible. We, therefore, provide welcome support to all new governors, with two cohorts during the academic year 2022/23 – one starting in autumn term 2022, and the other starting in spring term 2023.

Read More about this offer

Bespoke HR Training for Governing Boards

The Buckinghamshire HR team can provide expert sessions for governing boards in a range of topics including safer recruitment, headteacher recruitment, capability, grievance and disciplinary action.

Please contact us for more information on these bespoke sessions.

BESST Newsletter for Governors No.7

Dear Governors,

We are pleased to inform you we have several training sessions available in the Spring term.  The training is scheduled in the evening, 1 hour* from 6.30pm, vis TEAMs.  See the attached document with further details, costs and how to book your place.  Topics include:

  • Governor Priorities – Spring Term Agendas with BASG
  • Preparing for an Ofsted Inspection – a guide for governors
  • Financial Accountability for Governors*
  • The Role of the Chair and Succession Planning
  • The Role of the PSHE Governor
  • Promoting Pupil Wellbeing
  • Embedding Equality and Diversity in Your School

*This session is 1.5 hours and ends at 8pm

BESST newsletter for Governors 2021-22 edition 7 – Word Version

We are currently planning more sessions to offer in March 2022, so look out for updates from the BESST team in your inbox and on Governor Times.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The BESST Team

Chairs Network Meeting – Chesham / Amersham / Wendover / Great Missenden Area – Monday 1st November 2021 7pm

The next meeting for chairs in the Chesham/Amersham/Wendover/Missenden area is on Monday 1st November at 7pm using Microsoft Teams.

Key topics that seem to be of interest are:

  1. Mental Health of Pupils
  2. Wellbeing of Staff
  3. Closing the Gap (referencing Bucks programme)
  4. The new traded services from Bucks Council

but other topics can be added – do let me know of anything specific you want covered.  If you are a new chair it could be general questions about the role.

Please contact me on to let me know you are going to attend.  To join the meeting use this link.

Andrew Brown

Chair, Chiltern Hills Academy

Governor Training from BESST Autumn 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We have been made aware of some difficulties encountered with access to the links in our newsletters, so I am sending this in the hope that you are all able to access the information and booking pages.  Places are still available on all the training sessions below, just click on the titles to follow the links.

Topic Date Time Day Presenter
Working in Partnership to Support School Improvement 30.09.21 18.30 – 19.30 Thu Yvette Thomas & Team
Embedding Equality and Diversity in Your School 06.10.21 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Yvette Thomas
The Primary Governor’s Role in School Improvement 12.10.21 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Naureen Kausar
Being Strategic – What Good Governance Looks Like 13.10.21 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Paul Randall & Anne Sheddick
The Secondary Governor’s Role in School Improvement 19.10.21 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Georgina Masefield
Allegations – a guide for governors 03.11.21 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Nicola Johnstone
Financial Management for Maintained Schools 11.11.21 18.30 – 19.30 Thu Cheryl Stead & Jonathan Carter
Educational Visits 17.11.21 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Mike Harwin
Internet Safety 18.11.21 18.30 – 19.30 Thu Alison Watts
Exclusions – Introduction for All 30.11.21 18.30 – 20.30 Tue Rose Lindsay, Berni Little and Jan Underhill
Developing Your Board – Keeping up-to-date 02.12.21 18.30 – 19.30 Thu Paul Randall & Anne Sheddick

We apologise for any inconvenience and we will continue to work on the communications process for BESST and training available.

Kind regards,

The BESST Team

BASG February 2021 Newsletter No.2

We were delighted to welcome over 70 governors at our AGM on 14 January 2021. Our Chair, Paul Randall, led
the meeting on MS Teams to report on the annual accounts, elections to the Executive Committee and the
considerable volume of BASG activity during 2020. With great pride and respect we welcomed the keynote
speaker, Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive of NGA, who spoke with passion and understanding about the role
of governors in today’s world. Emma answered a variety of questions from attendees, covering topics linked to:
• Recruitment
• Funding
• Diversity of Boards
• Localism
• Safeguarding
• Academy Conversions
• Remote Education
• Service Providers

The AGM extended a warm welcome also to two new members of the Executive Committee, Andrew Brown and
Martin Baxter. Andrew has served on Governing Boards in Buckinghamshire Schools for over 20 years. Currently he is Chair of Governors at Chiltern Hills Academy in Chesham. He is a member of the School Governance
Consultative Board at Buckinghamshire Council and in his spare time he enjoys singing in choirs and Scottish
Country Dancing. Martin is Chair at Turnfurlong Junior School and a Trustee of the Aylesbury Learning
Partnership, a co-operative trust of maintained schools. He taught in two schools before a career in several local
authorities, mostly concerned with teaching and school improvement. Martin has engaged in UK and
international projects on school leadership and curriculum development and has seen governance from many
angles. Both Andrew and Martin are passionate about governance and we look forward to the valued
contributions and expertise they will bring to BASG.

BASG Activity 2020
To capture just some of the work taking place to support Governors across the County:
• Regular scheduled meetings with members of the Buckinghamshire Council Education Team
• Ensuring that Local Authority communications linked to Leadership & Management in schools are sent
directly to Chairs of Governors to share with their Boards
• Working with the Local Authority to continue the fully funded membership of NGA for all maintained
schools, providing governors with immediate access to this professional organization for guidance,
training and governor support
• The launch of our new website, with a special thank you to Tomas
Pukalski, Director of Framework Digital in Aylesbury, who made this possible
• Keeping up our social media presence on Twitter @BucksGovernors and Facebook, for which we are
grateful to our dedicated Duke of Edinburgh’s Award student, who also happens to be the daughter of
the Chair. Please give us a follow and like, share and comment on our posts. Join the Facebook group and
sign up to our mailing list via the website to stay fully connected to the governor community
• Highlighting training needs for governors, resulting in on-line training sessions led by Local Authority
specialists. The sessions have been very well attended and will continue into 2021
• BASG representatives continue to attend the School Governance Consultative Board, which meets
quarterly and is attended by senior LA officers and elected Members. The SGCB is currently chaired by
Peter Lerner, Safeguarding and Equalities governor at Lane End Primary School
• Representatives from BASG also attend Side by Side meetings to support the Local Authority in the drive
for school improvement in Buckinghamshire
• Organising and chairing the Local Networking Groups, which although can no longer meet face to face,
continue to flourish via Zoom or MS Teams
• It is hoped that mentoring for new Chairs will launch this year to develop further robust, effective and
passionate governance throughout Buckinghamshire.

BASG Executive Committee hard at work at our most recent meeting on 1 February:


Visible Governance
“Good governance is not just an insurance policy that picks up the pieces when things have gone wrong; it is a
central component of a successful organization”. (NGA)

With over 300,000 governors in the UK, NGA is promoting a campaign to bring governance further into the
limelight. Please use the link below to find out how you can support this campaign to achieve a higher profile
and better understanding of governance, and further improve the lives of children and their communities.

Networking Groups
As mentioned above, Local Networking Groups continue across the county. Governors come together to discuss
issues and to share thoughts and concerns on local and national agendas. We aim for a member of the BASG
Executive Committee to attend each meeting so that key points can be dovetailed into other meetings such as
the School Governance Consultative Board. The following dates remain for this term:

• 17 February 2021: the newly resurrected Chesham, Amersham, Wendover and Great Missenden group
for chairs and vice-chairs will meet from 19:00 to 21:00 via MS Teams. Please contact Andrew Brown if you would like to attend
• 20 March 2021: South Bucks area group (known as Jordans) for chairs, vice-chairs and committee chairs
will meet at 10:00 via MS Teams. Please contact Anne Sheddick to attend
• 23 March 2021: the Aylesbury group, open to all governors, will meet at 19:00. Please contact Martin
Baxter to attend

At the last Aylesbury networking group, discussion took place on how challenging it is to address the ‘Wellbeing
need in schools when we are remote, it being more difficult to pick-up the vibes. One school had established a
COVID committee and in another, governors had online discussions with middle leaders to gauge a sense of
wellbeing and how the school had adapted to new expectations. We ask governors to reflect on the culture of
Wellbeing that exists in their school or Trust. The NGA has provided an evaluation tool which invites participants
to reflect on the approach taken towards staff wellbeing at both board and operational level:

Governor Training and Events
The training events provided by Buckinghamshire Council have been very well attended and further sessions are
in the planning as we speak – dates will be posted on our website as soon as they are available. Other upcoming
events are already available to browse on the website – please take a look

As mentioned above, we are delighted that Buckinghamshire Council has again funded membership of NGA for
all maintained schools, with a reduced price option for academies. Membership includes:

• copies of Governing Matters magazine sent to the home of three governors and a copy to the school
• a weekly e-newsletter featuring the latest education news and policy updates
• full access to members-only content in our online Knowledge Centre containing a wealth of governance
• NGA guides available at a discounted rate
• a free place at NGA member conferences and events which draw high-profile speakers
Learning Link that provides comprehensive training for governors, trustees, chairs and clerks on the full
range of their responsibilities

This year there have also been on-going additions of webinars to further support governing boards:

NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs)

Back in September last year, NASEN announced an exciting change to their membership offer in that it was to
become FREE for all individuals across the UK. We are delighted to confirm that this free membership is now
available! To access the new offer, you just need to activate your account
NASEN are committed to ensuring that expertise in SEND is available to each and every school and setting across
the UK. This is more important now than ever before as the impact of the pandemic creates continued social
upheaval for families and the education workforce. Benefits of membership include:
• Up-to-date knowledge and support rooted in research and evidence-informed best practice to empower
the workforce to become effective, inclusive practitioners
• Exclusive online access to NASEN Connect magazine six times a year, packed with advice and analysis
impacting on the SEND workforce
• Updates from the Whole School SEND Consortium, hosted by NASEN, including access to free resources
such as the Whole School SEND Review Guides, research, ‘What Works’ signposting and CPDL training
programme, including webinars
• Easy-to-access information through NASEN’s e-communications, developed by the specialist in-house
education team. This includes a monthly member newsletter, resource news blasts, sector newsflash,
topical resources, articles and discounts on training and CPDL
We would recommend a visit to the NASEN SEND Gateway, which has recently
received a makeover and continues to be the one-stop shop for all things SEND. To find out more, visit or e-mail

NASEN have published an excellent new handbook and practical guide to support Governing Boards, SEND
Governors and SENDCOs; essential reading for all SEND Governors.

“The Governance Handbook for SEND and Inclusion” By Adam Boddison, Routledge, 2021

Four free copies of the book are available on a first come first served basis, thanks to the generosity of Emma
Knights at the NGA. To win a copy, please send an email to Paul Randall, giving
details of your role as a Governor, the school(s) where you serve and your home address. The first four people
to email will receive a free copy of the book via Amazon.

Acknowledging the work of schools
As a final item, we think it is important to dedicate a few words in recognition of the efforts of all those working
in schools this past year. Leaders have shown clarity and care in prioritising the well-being of the school
community, taking potentially life-saving decisions based on rapidly changing information and guidance. The
teaching and learning support staff have risen to the challenge of managing on-site provision for children in
attendance whilst working incredibly hard to provide learning materials for the children at home. It goes without
saying that schools have only been able to stay open at all thanks to the commitment of site teams and nonteaching staff in keeping the school environments safe, clean and running efficiently. There cannot have been a
more difficult time through which to update and reassure parents, children and colleagues – the circumstances
have been anxious for all concerned and emotional energy has been stretched thinly. As governors, we are
proud and inspired by the professionalism and dedication of the school community and we remain committed to
supporting them in the work they lead.

BASG – AGM with Emma Knight OBE Chief Executive of the NGA

We are delighted to invite all school governors, school leaders and clerks to join us at our AGM

This will be held on Thursday 14th January 2021 at 5pm.

The AGM will be held virtually. Information on how to join the event and the meeting etiquette will be sent to you one week prior to the event.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite

Special guest and speaker Emma Knights OBE Chief Executive of the NGA

Emma Knights, OBE Chief executive of the National Governance Association

Emma leads the organisation under the direction of NGA’s board of trustees.

As chief executive of the National Governance Association (NGA), Emma Knights leads the charity to fulfil its aim of improving the educational standards and wellbeing of young people by increasing the effectiveness of governing boards in maintained schools and academy trusts and oversees the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

Emma promotes the interests of the school governance community and amplifies the voice of NGA’s members at a national level with legislators, policymakers, education sector organisations and in the media.

Emma is an accomplished writer and speaker on a range of school governance policy and practice topics, and has a particular interest in vision, culture and strategy; accountability; stakeholder engagement; disadvantage; ethical leadership; and diversity and inclusion. Emma is co-author of The Chair’s Handbook and NGA’s Moving MATs Forward: the power of governance report. Prior to joining NGA in 2010, Emma was joint CEO of the Daycare Trust and before that, worked in a number of roles in the voluntary sector. She was a governor at a secondary school in Warwickshire for eight years.

Working across the education sector, Emma has recently participated in the Department for Education’s headteacher standards review group, NAHT’s accountability commission, the Department for Education’s flexible working advisory group, and the Ethical Leadership Commission, and has previously sat on the Commission on Religious Education and the Knowsley Education Commission.

Under Emma’s leadership since 2010, NGA has grown to become the leading expert charity for guidance, research, advice and training for school governors, trustees and clerks, with over 40 staff and a strong presence in the education sector

AGM Timings are:

17.00 – 17.30 – AGM

17.30 – 18.00 – Guest Speaker – Emma Knights

18.00 – 18.15 – Questions for Emma Knights

Executive Director Briefings January 2021 – register your place

Executive Director Briefings, Spring 2021

The next Executive Director Briefings are scheduled for the first week in January, please register your place using the Eventbrite links below:

Wed 6th January 9.30am MS Teams
Thu 7th January 6.30pm MS Teams


Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services


Buckinghamshire Council

4th Floor, County Hall

Walton Street


HP20 1UZ

Proposed Christmas INSET 18th December

Sent on behalf of Simon James, Service Director Education and Gareth Drawmer, Head of Service Achievement & Learning

Dear Colleagues,

I am sure that you will all now be aware of the government announcement on Tuesday for schools to consider closing on the 18th December. The guidance that has been issued is clear, that schools may consider voluntarily closing on the 18th December to ensure that, given the time it takes for Covid to present in individuals, any tracing activity that needs to be completed by a school will be closed by the 23rd December. It is clear in the guidance that this is a voluntary choice presented to schools and there is no obligation for you to do this. Clearly the consequence of choosing not to do this may mean that school leaders could be contacted on Christmas Eve to facilitate track and trace.

If you do choose to move an INSET day we are aware of the significant consequences of this action. You will have planned your staff training for the year and may have commissioned external trainers to deliver the sessions. Many of you will have front loaded your days this year due to the challenging nature of the autumn term and you may not have the option to move a day. You may also not be in a position to deliver training to staff on the 18th due to the short timeframe of the announcement.

We would therefore suggest the following options for you to consider when making your decision:

If taking the 18th as a training day

  • Consider disaggregating the time from the day and spreading it across the remainder of the academic year as twilight training sessions to cover the hours from the day.
  • Where possible take out a training day from this academic year to compensate for the December date.
  • Remember that moving an already published INSET day may have consequences for families who have planned holidays around that day and to reassure them that they will not be penalised for following through with their plans.
  • If you have no available INSET days that you can flexibly move – consider a variation to a term date to compensate for the additional day. The most natural point for this would be to extend the summer term for a day, closing on Thursday 22nd July

If not taking the 18th as a training day

  • Consider the impact on staff with regard for childcare on that day if their child’s school is closing
  • Ensure that you have robust plans in place for track and trace support if needed on Christmas Eve
  • Consider taking the day as a remote learning day for the school with appropriate levels of activity for pupils for the day.

As always we are happy to discuss any issues that you may have and to support you in your decision making. We are aware of the time pressure for decisions to be made and we hope that our position as set out above is helpful to you and your leadership teams.

Warm regards,

Simon & Gareth