Damian Hinds has called on leading employers to lend their business expertise to support schools to improve education for ‘every child’.
The Education Secretary has joined with the Institute of Directors to call on more than 30,000 leading British businesses to encourage their employees to lend their expertise and commitment in the running of schools and colleges.
Currently, there are around 250,000 experienced governors and trustees across the country – including many parents – providing their time, energy, and guidance to support schools.
The budget for training and support for this “army of volunteers” will be doubled to £6 million up to 2021 to ensure more school leaders have access to popular training courses that build on their existing skills and will help raise education standards.
Hinds has also set out plans to bear down on Academy trusts that pay excessive salaries and hand out lucrative contracts to family and friends in a clampdown to make them more accountable for the money they spend. These announcements build on the rules already in place to provide transparency over academy finances. The measures include:
- a requirement for academy accounts to detail staff earning over £100,000 and the percentage of teaching time those individuals undertake; and
- a requirement, from April, for all related party transactions to be declared to the Education and Skills Funding Agency and for academy trusts to seek approval for any transaction over £20,000.
Hinds said: “I want to do everything I can to help boost governor recruitment and retention. Because, quite simply, we need more great people.
“So today I’m issuing a call to arms… appealing to people up and down the country to take on this vital role – to play their part in helping the next generation to thrive.
“I want to urge people from different backgrounds, different professions, to come forward – offer up your time, your energy, your skills, your expertise… I’m also making an appeal to the nation’s employers today.
“Because of course to become a governor, people with full-time jobs will need their employer’s support. I believe businesses can make a contribution to society here – and it’s not just schools either. Governors of Further Education colleges are key to providing the skills and training businesses need, and will play a pivotal role delivering our new T Level qualifications.
“That’s why I’m writing to the 30,000 members of the Institute of Directors, urging them to encourage employees to take on this role, and give them the time it needs.”
Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “Good governance doesn’t just apply to business, it is also crucial to the way we run our schools. Indeed many of the skills acquired in corporate directorship roles are directly transferable to the education sector. IoD members know this first-hand and many are already actively involved with the schools system, but there are so many more company directors who could be using their expertise and experience for the benefit of their local communities.
“That’s why the Institute of Directors and the Department for Education are today issuing a call to business leaders and their employees to become a school governor or academy trustees. This will help drive up standards and increase opportunities for our young people, and ultimately help tackle the skills gap and boost business productivity.”