Rebecca Hudson from GovernorHub has been speaking to Hannah Drew, content editor at The Key for School Governors, about their newest training course: Safeguarding for Governance. It will help boards to meet new statutory requirements for regular, appropriate safeguarding training.
One of our goals is to give governors and trustees the knowledge they need to act in their governance role. It’s one thing to know about governance in theory, but we really want our members to be able to put their knowledge into practice. We want to help governors and trustees to formulate their own questions, know what to do on a school visit and how to actually review policies. This gives them much more confidence than simply telling them to do these things without explaining how. Speaking to real-life governors who have had years of experience really helps here too - they give us tried and tested advice and tips that really work. Most of us at The Key for School Governors (myself included) are also governors, so we can really relate to, and understand the problems that governors and trustees may face.
Our safeguarding link governor course focuses on the link governor, and what they need to ask about and monitor to effectively fulfil that role. Our new "Safeguarding for governance" training is a bit more general, and is for everyone on the board - it helps people to understand how to incorporate it into their governance role, even when they’re not the safeguarding link governor. For example, we want every governor and trustee to know how to keep safeguarding in the back of their minds on every school visit and during every policy review, even when it’s not their primary purpose.
There are a few different aspects to the research process. I spoke to a number of governance experts - people that have been governors or trustees for years, who really know their stuff. They gave me an insight into real-life examples and situations they’ve experienced. I also looked for recent or significant safeguarding incidents, and used some of the work from The Key Safeguarding team - they’re the safeguarding experts. I also speak to designated safeguarding leads regularly to see what’s really happening in schools.
This links back to the point on governance in theory vs. governance in practice. Taking a look at your own policies and documents while you have the training information in front of you helps to reinforce what you’re learning. When you come to look at the documents again, perhaps in a board meeting, you’ll already have a good sense of what the document looks like and what everything means. So, you can confidently contribute to the meeting and ask good, strategic questions about it.
The cheat sheets are super useful for those tricky bits that may need a refresher every so often. They allow governors and trustees to download them and refer to them without having to go back into the course. They can also print and share them with the rest of the board - we know some people prefer to have things in front of them in paper form, rather than on a screen.
We included an assessment for two key reasons. First of all, it helps governors and trustees consolidate their knowledge, giving them the chance to reflect on everything they’ve learnt. Secondly, once they pass, they receive a certificate, so they have evidence of the time and effort they’ve put into training. Now that safeguarding training is a KCSIE requirement, that certificate demonstrates that governors are complying with their statutory safeguarding duties.
We’ve got a number of new ‘learning pathways’ in the pipeline. These are collections of articles that already exist on The Key for School Governors website, on topics such as finance. There’s also an assessment and certificate at the end to test your knowledge. We hope to bring out other courses too, such as inductions for staff and parents governors - so watch this space.