A News story by Humayon Pramanik 15 July 2019

Associate governors are teams of Year 6 pupils appointed to give their views on everything from teaching and learning and academy leadership and management to behaviour and attendance within their academies. 

Perry Court E-ACT Academy was delighted to host this year’s Associate Governor Conference. Attended by pupils from our academies in the South West, the conference was a fantastic opportunity for the pupil governors to come together for a day of collaboration and team-building.

It was also a chance for our pupils to learn all about the importance of governance, and why it is relevant to them…

It’s often said that when good governance is in place, you tend not to hear about it. When governance is done badly however, it’s those stories that start to trend on social media.

Think about the most recent news stories that you’ve seen and heard. From fake news on Facebook through to football clubs going out of business – chances are that these events have happened as a result of bad governance. 

Let’s start at the beginning and work out what governance actually is before considering what good governance looks like. 

No Minecraft after 7.00pm?!

Governance can be described as the leadership and direction of an organisation.  

This means that those who are responsible for governance must set out what their organisation hopes to achieve, and they must also look at their organisation’s progress. 

In part, governance also spells out what we can and can’t do, much like the rules that your parents might set at home. No Minecraft after 7.00pm? That’s governance in action in your own home! 

At E-ACT our Board of Trustees set out our goals, and they empower your headteacher through good governance to run your academy on a day-to-day basis. 

What makes good governance?

Without good governance, none of our 29 academies could run properly. Whilst we know that governance is about our aims and rules for how we do things, we believe that good governance is: 

  • Written in a way so people can easily understand it. 
  • Clear, open and honest. 

There should also be what we call a ‘golden thread’. This means that the rules of governance should be clear to everyone within an organisation, no matter how junior or senior they are. In our case, this also includes you, our wonderful pupils!  

We want young people to be more involved in governance

Children have a different experience of education from adults. For example, you see things that sometimes we don’t. It’s why we should do even more to find out what you think about our academies. 

There are some great examples of how young people within E-ACT are changing the way we approach governance. Take students at North Birmingham Academy for example, who have put into place a suggestions box so that students can share their opinions on how their academy is run. 

Students at Parkwood E-ACT Academy in Sheffield have also been busy working on something (that sounds rather tasty) called the ‘Nando’s menu of homework’. The menu was introduced by the headteacher after students shared their opinions on how they like to complete homework. 

Our tips on being a big-time governance influencer!

We take this opportunity to share some tips on how you can maximise your impact on governance at your academy. 

  • Always work as a team when discussing your plans on anything from homework to litter. 
  • Keep talking about the changes you feel will help most pupils at your academy. 
  • Once you have collectively decided on your plans, list them using easy to understand language and examples. 

Most importantly, never be afraid to ask questions. If things don’t seem right, ask questions and don’t leave it alone. And if adults don’t have an answer for you, it means that we need to look more closely at that part of our governance.  

This is what good governance is all about. 

For us, it’s about making the adults in charge accountable to you

While we understand the importance of being accountable to adults, you are our most important stakeholders. Your voices should be heard above all others, so if you have something to say, we want to hear it. 

As associate governors, we know that you are already doing great things at your academies. Keep doing what you’re doing and know that you are helping your academy to become an even better place of learning.