Considering the weather was beautiful outside 27 governors and trustees nonetheless joined the Summer Term meeting held remotely via Zoom. BGA Chair Richard Ainsworth welcomed the first guest speaker, Bury’s new Director of Education and Skills, Isobel Booler. Isobel commenced her presentation by outlining that she intended the answer the questions why Bury and why now. She have an overview of her professional background and her strong links to the town having attended Holcombe Brook Primary School, Woodhey High School and Bury College before moving on to higher education. Therefore in relation to the why question, Isobel stated that she owed a debt to Bury for having such a great start to her education journey in the town. In relation to the why now, Isobel detailed her background in teaching, starting in a Bury high school, before working overseas in Africa for the voluntary service and then her experience as an education adviser for Manchester City Council followee by her time as Headteacher in the primary sector before working as a Deputy Director of Education for Manchester City Council leading on SEND. She voiced her opinion that now was the right time to work with Bury, supporting the changes that needed to be made.

Isobel outlined her first impressions since taking up her post and stressed that the current number of 83% of Bury’s schools being rated as good or better needed to be increased. She felt that the infrastructure and systems needs to improve. Her initial policies will be focusing on the council’s statutory duties to ensure they are done well and on the outward facing system to ensure that effective policies are in place to support schools. She is keen for the local authority to be an effective partner to Bury schools and wants to work with them to be a part of the improvement journey.

There was then a question and answer session where Isobel answered openly and honestly to the questions raised by governors and trustees.

Richard thanked Isobel for her presentation and then handed over to John Mallon, the Chair at Phillips High, and Rachael Stirk and Wendy Jackson who talked about the co-construction of Bury’s wellbeing guide. John spoke passionately and articulately about the work and its importance, stressing that it was vital that boards ensured that Headteachers have their protected dedicated leadership time. There was then a discussion about moving this forward and the suggestion that a working party reporting into the BGA Executive committee could support this work, potentially through the use of workshops.

Richard notified attendees that the BGA Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 18th November 2021, with the Village Hotel in Bury booked as a venue. BGA vice-chair Mark Granby then gave an overview of the plans for governor training and CPD for the next academic year. The delivery of training through One Education will continue and the programme for next year will be released soon. It is also intended to deliver some face to face sessions and Mark reminded attendees that BGD membership gave free access to the NGA Learning Link platform. Richard closed the session and invited any questions for the BGA Exec to be posted through the ‘Contact Us’ page of the BGA website.

The Zoom recording of the meeting can be accessed via the link below using the passcode 5×5=Z4c*

John Mallon’s speech on wellbeing can be accessed on the link below:

WELLBEING – BGA input.docx.