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.