Previous Conferences

Annual Governors' Conference - Friday 5 October 2018

The Cheshire East Governors’ Conference was held at Cranage Hall in Holmes Chapel this year. Delegates numbered over 100 with governors representing 69 schools, including maintained and academies. 

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and some comments are included below: 

  • Probably the best one yet
  • Networking benefit as well as content
  • A great session with some insightful questions and well considered answers. Exciting times for governance to deliver the best education for all our children
  • Great opportunities to chat and share ideas and thoughts with others
  • Very well organised and good speakers/sessions 
  • Panel approach worked well. Pertinent questions and answers
  • Thank you all for a very interesting and, without doubt, a very informative day

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, opened the conference and outlined the programme and thanked governors for their voluntary and vital role in ensuring the best possible education for every child. 

Jacky Forster, Director of Education and 14-19 Skills then gave an outline of the Local Authority’s position, including: 

  • Local and national trends in performance;
  • Key improvement priorities;
  • School place planning;
  • Outcomes for the most vulnerable.

The presentations from the day are available below:

The keynote session was led by Dave Harris, Director of Independent Thinking Ltd.  Dave outlined his notion of Brave Leadership which was the theme for the conference and converted this to Brave Governance. Dave defines this concept in a number of ways, principally the idea is that bravery is about doing what you know to be the right thing for the pupils in your school, or more succinctly, to misquote Kipling . . . ‘how to keep your cool when all about you are losing theirs’.

We believe that this ‘Brave’ concept is equally applicable to the vital work of all governors, whose key role is not only to set the strategic direction of the school, but to hold leaders to account, keeping their needle in the groove leading towards it. 

Dave Harris, Director of Independent Thinking Ltd.

Following Dave’s keynote on Brave Governance, we moved towards a series of sessions that were intended to assist in thinking out the practical steps towards achieving the strategic vision set by the governors. Our Academies Regional Commissioner, Christine Quinn, gave a very clear presentation which illustrated a useful four step approach to school improvement, including the key questions that governors should pose at each stage in order to assure themselves of impact. Every school could take this on - the process is generic and not related to academy status. 

Following Christine Quinn was Helen O’Neill, Senior Her Majesty’s Inspector (HMI), responsible for the delivery of Ofsted’s curriculum research project along with  its later inclusion into the new inspection framework. Helen outlined the key issues that have been observed in the classroom and in schools - not as a result of failure but more as unintended consequences of the current system, including the accountability framework. Helen explained that the focus currently was on gaining knowledge in too few subjects, resulting in curricula that are driven by end point assessment - and consequential focus on teaching to the test.  

The final session of the day was an open forum in which Mark Palethorpe, our Acting Strategic Director of People, chaired a Q&A session answering questions posed by delegates. This was a new session following feedback from previous events and delegates had the opportunity to debate matters directly with leaders from the Local Authority, Ofsted/HMI and the Regional Schools’ Commissioner.

The conference links to a new initiative by the Local Authority to develop a primary and secondary group of professionals to lead and develop curriculum approaches in advance of the new framework. This is a Brave approach in that it will be rooted in doing what all education professionals know is right – with an appropriate balance of innovative curricula and examination/core subjects. Such an approach will work to develop the deeper and broader knowledge base in children – a vital tool in the process of building capable and future ready individuals. 

Sincere thanks go to our external colleagues and those from Children and Families who hosted a stand on the day, along with everyone involved in the operational organisation of this successful event. The Governance and Liaison team do an outstanding job in ensuring such events are organised and managed as effectively as possible and we are grateful for their excellent work.

Mike Harris Service Manager: School Governance and Liaison

Annual Governors' Conference - Friday 10 March 2017

The Cheshire East Annual Governors’ Conference 2017, organised with support from the Cheshire East Association of Governing Bodies, took place on Friday 10 March 2017 at Tatton Park, Knutsford.

Successful Schools – ‘it’s not all about English and Maths’

The Annual Governors’ Conference took place on Friday 10 March at Tatton Park, Knutsford, and was attended by both Governors and Headteachers. The agenda included a range of knowledgeable and inspirational speakers who covered the theme ‘it’s not all about English and Maths’, focussing on the importance of non-academic aspects of school learning, such as activity and exercise, self awareness and wellbeing.

Our external presenters included a former Olympic Gold Medalist and an expert in resilience and self esteem along with some mini sessions hosted by staff members and pupils  from three primary schools in Cheshire East.

The feedback from the conference has been overall positive and some comments are listed below, followed by speaker presentations and photographs from the day.

"An excellent conference – building resilience is so important and relevant in schools."

"Good to have an upbeat conference."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this conference. It was inspirational in its content, highly relevant to schools and our children. Extremely worthwhile."

"I applaud the people who stood and shared their passion, experience and expertise so brilliantly."

"Excellent to have children involved."

The presentations from the day are available below:

Document accessibility

Cheshire East Annual Governors’ Conference 2016

The title of this year's conference was 'Maintaining Excellence in a Changing World - Keeping all the Plates Spinning'

The presentations for each speaker is linked below:

SEND Governors’ Conference

The SEND Governors' Conference took place on Tuesday 28th June 2016, Tenants’ Hall, Tatton Park, Knutsford  WA16 6QN

Governors SEND documents are now available to download:

Contact details for Prevention & Support Services are included on the agenda and Governors are welcome to contact any member of the team direct with queries or suggestions.

Shaping Future Education Provision across Cheshire East Schools

The Shaping Future Education Provision across Cheshire East Schools took place on Friday 10th June 2016, Tenants’ Hall, Tatton Park, Knutsford  WA16 6QN

Documents are now available to download:


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