The Education Secretary has revealed plans to double the current training budget for governors and trustees.

Referring to them as an ‘army of volunteers’, Damian Hinds has said that investment in those who give up their time and energy to support to schools and MATs will be increased to £6 million up to 2021.

This budget boost will help to ensure that a higher number of the 250,000 existing governors and trustees are able to take advantage of developmental courses. These volunteers, who are often parents, should have greater access to training that enhances their skills and knowledge as a result.

Damian Hinds also called for more volunteers from a range of sectors and professions to become governors and trustees, which the augmented budget should help to facilitate.

Speaking at the National Governance Association (NGA) conference, Damian Hinds said, “Good and effective governance is essential for any school – you can’t separate it from educational performance or good management.

“I pledge to work with the NGA and with businesses to encourage people to volunteer to become governors and do what you do. I’ll help governors to access the training they need.

“Governing and trust boards should reflect the communities they serve. So, I want to urge people from different backgrounds, different professions, to come forward – to offer up their time, energy, skills, and expertise.

“Because so many people want to give something back to their community, this is truly one of the most valuable and far reaching ways you can do that.”

This is great news for schools and MATs, for whom governors and trustees are such an essential benefit. Specialist management and organisational support – in the shape of management software – is key to ensuring that both volunteers and staff alike have the tools and resources at their disposal to lead schools and MATs with efficiency and insight.

Investment in governor training can mean better school management

The investment for school governor training will be welcomed by many suppliers of management software solutions, as they are often part of the school software decision-making process.

Many governors are rightly concerned about any expenditure in these days of flat cash and rising expenses in schools. As a result, the efficiencies that proven software solutions can provide for finance, estates and IT management can often be overlooked as a cost.

In reality though, the manual process of managing, tracking and auditing assets is extremely time-consuming and leaves schools exposed to loss and unnecessary expenditure –  costs the right management software could help them avoid. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) state that 69% of fraud in the public sector is down to asset misappropriation – a huge cost schools can ill afford.

Annual manual audits recorded on paper or a spreadsheet are ineffective and inefficient, and can lead to schools procuring inventory they don’t need. The bigger the school, the bigger the problem. Thankfully though, most software suppliers relate subscription costs to student numbers, so the costs and savings are relative.

As a leading supplier of school management software, we often ask business managers at regional meetings if they believe they are spending money or losing assets in these ways, and there is an overwhelming acknowledgement that they probably are. The same applies to being caught in unsuitable contracts and being tied to software or services they no longer use. Site managers try to keep records of compliance and preventative maintenance checks in spreadsheets or paperwork without real-time updates, leaving schools exposed to safety risks. All these issues are raised by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), who acknowledge that the right software solutions can make time and cost efficiencies in schools, academies and MATs.

At Parago, we have developed asset, estates, contracts and policy management solutions in partnership with recognised schools and MATs that give proven return on investment. Want to know more? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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