Governors urged to consider better quality training

The Teacher Development Trust, a charity founded by teachers to improve the educational outcomes for children by ensuring they experience the most effective learning, has today (4th July 2013) welcomed the Education Select Committee’s call for more training for school governors but warned that simply attending more training won’t be sufficient – there needs to be greater attention to quality and depth.

Responding to the committee’s recommendations on governor effectiveness and training, David Weston, CEO of the Trust and a primary school governor says:

“The call for more training for governors is to be welcomed, however this report rightly questions the quality of some of the training that is available. We believe that national bodies should be developing kite-marks for training within their areas of expertise (e.g. finance, HR, inspection) and this should go hand in hand with an evaluation of the impact this has on their practice and understanding, through mechanisms such as our GoodCPDGuide.

Governing bodies need to understand that training in order to learn entirely new concepts and ideas is necessary but not sufficient. It is just as important that governing bodies and individual members take a hard look at their habitual practices (e.g. their modes of debate, methods used to analyse data and reports and their approach to observing/visiting the school) and undertake the much harder work of gradually improving these too. This sort of training requires collaboration with more experienced peers, external expertise to guide and challenge, and tools and frameworks to help evaluate the skill and impact of these practices.”

Research has shown that a great deal of the professional development available in education is of insufficient quality to transform and improve existing habits and practices. The Teacher Development Trust advocates approaches that are based on international best practice which suggest that the most effective training is collaborative, sustained over a long period of time, specifically focused on relevant outcomes for participants, and involves an external expert supporting and challenging progress.

The comments come ahead of the launch of the Trust’s National Teacher Enquiry Network (NTEN). NTEN is a collaborative partnership of schools and colleges focused on innovation and improvement through highly effective and evidence-based professional development and learning. It has been developed alongside schools, in consultation with experts, through a series of pilots supported by the National College for Teaching and Leadership and the National Union of Teachers.

The launch event, which will be held at the House of Commons on 11th July 2013, will feature a number of speakers including: Dr. Ben Goldacre, Academic and Author of Bad Science and 2013 evidence paper ‘Building Evidence into Education’; John Stephens, Director of Teaching Schools & School Improvement at the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and Philippa Cordingley, Chief Executive of the Centre for the Use of Research & Evidence in Education (CUREE).

For more information on NTEN, visit