Governors from 35 Blackpool schools gathered at the Blackpool Governors’ Conference at the weekend, to celebrate their achievements of the last year and set future priorities for their work in the resort’s schools.

The conference was organised and hosted by Star Institute, a lead partner in the Lead Blackpool project. Funded by the DfE’s Strategic School Improvement Fund, the project has been focusing on strengthening leadership and governance, working collaboratively with local partners, school leaders, governors and Blackpool’s School Improvement Board.

The aspirational event, held in Blackpool’s The Village hotel, gave governors an opportunity to step back and reflect on the achievements of schools over the year, share best practice on good governance and engage in the developmental activities that the Lead Blackpool project supports.

Over the last 12 months, a collaboration between Star Institute, Blackpool Council and the multi-academy trusts active in the region, supported by National Leaders of Governance (NLGs) Alana Frith and John Boyle, has resulted in the development and implementation of Local Leaders of Governance programme, Blackpool Governors Network and the Governors’ conference. Each of these has been designed to strengthen governance in Blackpool that will drive forward Blackpool’s schools, addressing some of the specific challenges faced by coastal regions.

Conference delegates heard from motivational speaker Floyd Woodrow, who was one of the youngest ever members of the SAS and a former leader of the UK’s Counter Terrorism Unit. Floyd, a celebrated speaker with a special interest in education who has previously addressed national education conferences, took Blackpool’s governors through his ‘Compass for Success’ providing a framework to support strong and visionary leadership.

Amanda Bailey, Executive Director of Star Institute, led an interactive session during the afternoon, exploring the core functions of school governing bodies and the characteristics of good governance.

NLG Alana Frith stressed in her presentation that governors should put the needs of the children and young people of Blackpool at the heart of every decision and activity.

At the conference, the Blackpool Governors’ Network was launched. This network will act as a focus for outstanding governance across Blackpool’s schools and academies and for making a positive difference to outcomes and opportunities for local children. It will encourage closer partnership working between governors across the resort’s schools, and the sharing of best practice. The network will also champion the work of Blackpool’s schools and school governors at a local, regional and national level.

Executive Director of Star Institute Amanda Bailey commented:

“School governance is a vital role and it was wonderful to see governors from Blackpool’s schools giving up their free time to work together with such energy and enthusiasm. It was inspiring to hear about all the great work that is going on in governance to support improvements in the outcomes for our children and young people. We hope the new Blackpool Governors’ Network will build on that energy and enthusiasm and make a real difference.”

Alana Frith, NGL, sets out future goals at the Blackpool Governors’ Conference