§ Mr. Miliband
Since June 2000, 21 governors from Essex, Cambridgeshire, Lewisham and Thurrock have been awarded the BTEC Higher Certificate for the Chair of Governors award developed by Essex LEA.
My right hon. Friend's policy on attracting, training and supporting school governors is to empower local education authorities and schools to deliver high quality support locally. The Department's school governor recruitment strategy offers support to locally based governor recruitment activities by LEAs and schools. We have produced the Help Schools Help Children information leaflet which promotes governorship and a supporting toolkit which offers advice and guidance on recruitment activities as well as publicity materials which can be adapted for local use. My Department also funds the School Governors' One Stop Shop which was established in November 1999 to recruit governors with business and management skills for inner city schools in Excellence in Cities (EiC) areas. In September 2002 this remit was extended to a number of other areas known to have serious vacancy problems.
Under my Department's National Strategy for Training and Supporting School Governors the first priority was to develop a National Training Programme for New Governors to ensure that all governors have the information they need to fulfil their statutory functions. The programme, which is delivered by LEA governor trainers, has been operating since September 2001. A Clerks' National Training Programme, developed for the Department by Consortium 52, a partnership involving LEAs in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humberside regions, together with the local diocesan bodies, is being rolled out to LEAs this summer. The programme supports a national job description for clerks, agreed after extensive consultation last year, and should increase awareness of this important role as well as ensure that clerks have the necessary skills and knowledge to support governing bodies effectively.
The third strand of the strategy is a National Development Programme for Heads and Chairs, which is currently being developed by the Eastern Leadership Centre (an Affiliated Centre for the National College of School Leadership) in partnership with governor services in nine eastern region LEAs in association with local Anglican and Catholic dioceses. The programme will provide skills training for chairs as well as joint development for heads and chairs linked to supporting a school improvement activity in the participants' schools, to develop joint leadership and effective team working. The Programme is due to be delivered to the Department at the end of March 2004.
All of these programmes build on existing good practice, provide mixed media resources, and offer self study as well as taught course materials to cater for a wide variety of preferred learning styles and access arrangements.