We are a unique organisation that focuses on corporate governance in the Further Education & Skills sector, making us the 'go to' place to find and be directed to trusted information, expert advice and consultancy, sophisticated software tools, inspirational training, and a library of support documents. Our desire is to see governing bodies positively influence their institutions through effective governance, enabling them to improve outcomes for all students and their communities. We are the ultimate one-stop shop for all your requirements in Further Education governance.
What We Do
Our purpose is to come along side all those operating in the Further Education governance space to support them to deliver effective governance by providing an outstanding service which delivers resources that are:
- Practical - something you can adapt, adopt, and utilise immediately
- Instructive - you learn in the act of doing - change happens best, is more sustained, and has greater rewards when it takes place from within the organisation
- Inspirational - by providing a new perspective, stimulating curiosity, and bringing hope for an improved future
We deliver a wide range of resources, both on this site and by signposting to guidance and support elsewhere, to equip those involved in governance in the Further Education sector, with the knowledge and confidence to embed effective governance practices.
We seek to:
- work collaboratively with all organisations across the Further Education sector, to provide an efficient service to all stakeholders
- be authentic - we walk the walk, not just talk the talk
- have the utmost commitment to quality and strive for excellence
- motivate people to go beyond compliance and add value through effective governance
About the founder – Fiona Chalk
As a multi award winning alumnus of the Strategic Governance Leadership Program through The Chartered Governance Institute, Fiona works as a dynamic influencer and supporter of educational governance. She is an experienced trustee, board Chair, board consultant and board trainer and an accomplished presenter and speaker nationally and internationally on governance issues, a published researcher through the Further Education Trust for Leadership, (FETL), and a member of the Chartered Governance Institute(TCGI). Having spent over 20 years working with Boards in corporate settings, in local government and in the third sector (with the last 15 years primarily working on governance in education), Fiona has a considerable understanding of what effective governance looks like, as well as excellent strategic leadership skills to deliver such and support all those operating in the governance space. She works collaboratively with those tasked with the responsibility for governance, to confidently and comprehensively transform governance through the delivery of board reviews, governance support, resource development, and training, to ensure the provision of effective governance and leadership to improve outcomes for young people and adult learners.
Fiona's winning nomination describes someone of vision and energy, a writer, trainer, mentor and leader motivated by a strong streak of altruism and an understanding of the link between good governance and outcomes for pupils and students. Fiona clearly has a positive impact upon the people and organisations with whom she works and as such embodies the qualities for which our judges were looking in a governance champion of the year.
CEO - Sara Drake
The Chartered Governance Institute
Fiona recently provided a customised in-house training session for our governors. Feedback was really excellent - we all found the presentation very helpful, interesting and insightful - she did a fantastic job and governors really enjoyed it.
Susan Bailey, Clerk to the Corporation
Following external intervention which saw the recruitment of a new Principal, Chair, and Governance Professional within a short period of time, Fiona played a crucial role through undertaking a governance review and further support, in ensuring our governance was built on firm foundations. Her unassuming, supportive, and knowledgeable manner, instilled confidence in us and our ability to continue to strengthen governance and give the necessary assurance to our stakeholders.
Chair, Multi Academy Trust
Fiona's tenure as interim Clerk to the College Corporation at Bracknell & Wokingham College was like a breath of fresh air. Professional to the tips of her fingers and deeply knowledgeable of all matters to do with good governance, she was very proactive in providing real practical assistance to the Chair and myself (as Principal/CEO) in our desire to improve the Board's collective effectiveness and overall accountability in our journey towards governance maturity.
Commodore (Retd) C S Christie CBE Royal Navy
Fiona is a great mentor - offering advice and guidance on a range of governance related issues. In particular, I have found it useful to discuss with her ways in which I can increase my influence and have impact beyond the traditional role of a clerk to a Governing Body.
Clerk, Fircroft College of Adult Education
I first came across Fiona on a strategic leaders course, Fiona was presenting ‘good governance for FE’, which was really illuminating. What really struck me was the added value to the bottom line and profitability a great board, working in unison with a shared strategy, could create; I was unaware of the research carried out and the impact this could have on an organisation. So much so in fact, that I invited Fiona along to speak to our training provider network, attended by leaders in FE. The questions generated by the audience weren’t just from those seeking to create boards, but also from those that had had existing boards and trustees for years, Fiona really made an impression on all those present. Thanks Fiona, it was a really valuable sessions.
Alex Richards, WTPN Director
External Governance Review Feedback Comments
Thank you for the comprehensive and informative review. The small group discussions yielded a lot of commonality with regard to the recommendations, and there were a few occasions where we paused to reflect on some of the insights from your report, adapting our behaviour and approach. Learning in action! Thank you again for the very thorough and actionable review - a Chair
Thank you so much for the attention you have given us over the past few weeks. I feel that you have really helped us to move forward as a leadership group (Board & Executive) and brought to life a enticing governance-future - a Chair
I'm always concerned when having to commission work that we didn't ask for, that it is going to be a tick-box exercise. Happily, your report absolutely reflected our college, and provided useful observations and recommendations. Thank you being so receptive to our feedback and thank you for the way in which you conducted the review - a CEO.
Thank you for the review - it is spot on in terms of where I think we are at, and will give us a great springboard to help us move forward. Thank you again for your time, insights, and helpful resources - a CEO
Thanks for your work on this important aspect of our business. The recommendations will help improve our governance and relationships. The materials you have provided will be of value in taking things forward - a CEO
Thank you for your great presentation yesterday which seemed to be really well received by governors and the Executive - a governance professional
Thank you for the report, the whole process so far has been incredibly helpful and valuable - a governance professional
Thank you for your work on our review…….we greatly enjoyed working with you - a governance professional.
Thank you very much for your presentation and session with our Board on Friday. I think it went very well, as did the governors, and we have some clear things to work on in our governance action plan as a result - a governance professional
Feedback Comments 1-year on
‘By opening up the opportunity to have an annual conversation as to the way in which the Board and the Executive wish to work together has been transformational. Realigning our approach to executive reports - content, presentation and approach and reviewing the focus of agendas - strategic priorities/impact etc has really improved the Board's effectiveness’ – a CEO (Ofsted Outstanding college)
Kay is a Private Career Coach, Corporate Coach, Trainer & Facilitator, Motivational Speaker, and #1 Best-Selling Author. Kay coaches and mentors experienced career women, showing them how to take responsibility and control for their own career direction. She introduces women to strategies which men seem to do naturally which boost their success at work - raising their profile, going for opportunities and not waiting to be asked, negotiating salaries and bonus levels, asking for what they want. She has written 2 bestselling books: The A to Z of Being Understood and It's Always YOUR Move and regularly speak to audiences inside corporations and at events. For the past couple of years, she has worked with the Education & Training Foundation providing webinars and personal coaching sessions to governance professionals, with great success. Kay can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Essential Safeguarding Company provides bespoke safeguarding training, including courses written specifically for governors and trustees as well as teaching staff and DSLs. We also offer 1-1 and group supervision session to DSLs and their teams, providing high quality support and guidance and to ensure ongoing best practice.
'External supervision is paramount in discussing safeguarding problems and working together to find solutions. The knowledge and expertise you bring enables me to gain confidence in my decision making and I look forward to another year of unbiased, dedicated comfort, growth and direction.'
We support the FE sector by ensuring staff have the confidence and skills to keep their students safe. Through a combination of training, supervision, and consultancy we are the safeguarding thread that runs through everyday, supporting staff and governors to safeguard their students effectively throughout their FE experience.
Please visit The Essential Safeguarding Company website (www.essentialtrainingcompany.co.uk) to find out more.
The Chartered Governance Institute Service Provider of the Year Award 2023
This award recognises those individuals or companies that provide company secretarial or governance services to other organisations, and who have gone significantly beyond basic service levels. Nominees in this category will have made a valuable and creative contribution to the client’s business, providing practical and cost-effective solutions to the day-to-day and embracing the unknown, the exceptional. Theirs will be a forward-looking service for their clients, backed up by glowing testimonials.
DMJ Governance Hot 100 winners 2023 - Governance Trailblazer
The forward thinkers that raise the standards of corporate governance beyond what is expected.
We always welcome your feedback, so if you wish to send us any comments or suggestions, or have any questions, please email us at email@example.com