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Governor Live: a review of Planning for Success(ion)

Governor Live: a review of Planning for Success(ion)

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Photograph of Ruth AgnewThe Governor Live Planning for success(ion) event was held on Thursday the 29th of September 2016. Ruth Agnew – National Leader of Governance and director of RMA Governance – shared her thoughts on how governing bodies – and specifically chairs – can work to ensure that new chairs are appointed well and that existing chairs manage the process by which they step down and hand over in a way which benefits the school and their fellow governors. The session was well-attended – with a flurry of questions in response to Ruth’s presentation, all of which are listed below. Here’s how the evening unfolded:

Outline of the event:

Here’s how the event proceeded – once you’ve read the questions, scroll down further for the recordings:

  • Introduction
  • Presentation by Ruth Agnew
  • Questions from participants during the event:
    • Would you recommend a timescale for being chair?
    • We find it very difficult to recruit governors, particularly given the pressure on them, increasing responsibilities and bad press. Any suggestions about how to find governors?
    • Can GBs be too ‘picky’? I’ve seen governors (particularly parent governors) not wanting ‘certain parents’?
    • Vice-chair doesn’t have to be the automatic succession plan, it can be another governor with an established vice-chair’s support
    • What process did you go through to identify the person who became your co-chair? Did you identify that person or did they come forward spontaneously?
    • How do we encourage all governors to question and challenge in meetings?
    • We find it hard to select a chair because we all work full time and live in a commuter village. There is a balance between being able to give time to support the Head Teacher and being a good chair in that respect and knowing your time is limited. Are we being too cautious and overthinking it?
    • Follow up question to my earlier question. If you open up co-chair possibility to the whole GB, what would you advise should happen if more than one put name forward? At that stage not an elected position?
    • So, what is the best approach to remove non-contributing governors?
    • What, if any, changes would you make to this session for schools in, or planning to join, multi academy trusts?
    • How do you manage expectations of governors at a LGB level who may feel that their role is diminished due to the separation between the Trust and a LGB as a MAT grows in size?
    • Could we hear more about making the role of Chair attractive, please? I feel that it is a massive bureaucratic workload – is that just our school?
    • How do you suggest that a long-standing chair who is ineffective but popular is encouraged to stand down?
    • Our chair is very controlling and doesn’t encourage other governors to participate, give viewpoints or take a share of the workload. Our GB feels very dis-empowered but nobody is experienced enough to challenge or take on the chair role. what should we do?
    • Our school is about to go through an expansion to become twice its current size, including all the planning that requires and then obviously a massive building programme and temporary accommodation. Should we be thinking of next Chair being someone with specific skills to oversee that, and might it be best for that person not to be a parent governor?
  • Questions submitted before the event via Twitter
  • Evaluations and Thanks for attending

Answers to questions submitted before the event

A number of questions were submitted before the session ran, from participants who weren’t able to attend the live event. We’ve tweeted links to the YouTube recording directly to where those questions are answered.

Presentation slides

Here are Ruth Agnew’s presentation slides, reproduced with her permission. The most-recent version of the Succession Breeds Success COGS document referenced during her presentation is available from the NGA web site (PDF).

View the recordings of Planning for Success(ion)

There are two versions of the recording available:

Flash-based – non-mobile friendly, searchable, more interactive

View this recording from the Modern Governor Adobe Connect server – this version is searchable with built-in bookmarks, but requires Adobe Flash.

YouTube – mobile-friendly

View the recording on the Modern Governor YouTube channel:

Future Governor Live events

We’ve further Governor Live events planned for the remainder of this term – they’ll be announced on Twitter, Facebook and here on the Modern Governor blog – visit for an archive of all Governor Live-related information, now and in the future.

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