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February 2024

  • Celebrating National School Governors' Day

    Published 28/02/24

    National School Governors’ Awareness Day has been created to raise awareness of governance in our schools and celebrate the contribution that governors and trustees make. It’s a vital role to help schools to overcome challenges, set clear targets and build an improvement strategy that works. 

    A few members of our central team have chosen to act as school governors. Here’s what they had to say about their role and what they’ve gained from it…

    Why did you choose to be a school governor?

    David Higginbottom: “I really wanted to make a difference to a school within our local community and utilise my skills, lived experiences and expertise to help shape the school's strategic direction.”

    Kelly Robinson: “I first became involved as a governor as a parent. I thought it would help me understand what the school was offering my children. I understood how schools work, the challenges within the sector and how I can help my child at home as a parent. Four years later, when my youngest child went on to secondary school, I wasn't ready to give up my governance role, so when a governor vacancy came up at the secondary school - I applied and became a parent governor there as well for a further eight years!”

    Georgina Crooks: “I have been a school governor for six years and enjoy supporting the school with its strategic development to ensure it can offer the very best possible experience for its pupils. I am Chair of the Education committee and Safeguarding Link governor. Not only do I enjoy working alongside school leaders, but I value talking to pupils and staff and the wider community on school visits and at stakeholder forums. They give you invaluable insight into how to support and challenge the school, moving its development forward.”

    Why is the role so important? 

    David Higginbottom: “The primary role of a school governor is to hold the Head and school leadership to account, ensuring the strategic direction of the school, along with ethos and values, but in a supportive way. This external support and challenge is essential for every school. It ensures that the school is being well managed and that decisions are being made in the best interest of its pupils.”

    Kelly Robinson: “The pace of a school environment is like no other - often there is no time for the operational leaders to take a step back and see what strategic impact you're having on a day to day basis because you're tasked with running the school and the myriad of daily challenges that brings.  Governance provides support and challenge to school leaders when effective, a critical friend to help the wood be seen from the trees and help shape the strategy. Giving something back to the community is very important and has a lasting impact on young people - the fact that it's so rewarding is an added bonus.”

    Georgina Crooks: “I think the role of governor is important as it is a unique opportunity to contribute to the local community, support educational excellence and influence the direction and success of the school.”

    How has the role supported your development and what opportunities has it offered you?

    David Higginbottom: “The role has given me an insight into the management side of a school, developing and enhancing my own leadership skills. It has given me the opportunity to be involved in headteacher appraisal, data analysis and has developed my understanding of school finance and budget management.”

    Kelly Robinson: “I chaired the finance committee as a governor. As an accountant and with a sound understanding of school finance, I found it's brought an extra layer to my role that others may not have. It's not all about the finance, but instead the impact every decision has on the learners in our Trust. I have been able to provide internal governance to the organisation, as well as the training courses I attended as a governor providing sector oversight not normally experienced in my role. Plus anyone that works in education will know there are about one million acronyms, so this gave me a head start when I first started working within the education sector!”

    Georgina Crooks: “Being a governor has enabled me to refine my leadership skills as I have been part of strategic planning and setting the school's priorities as well as shaping its vision and values. Ultimately, being a governor gives me the opportunity to have a positive impact on children's education and their future prospects by helping shape the environment in which they learn and develop.”

    Find out more about National School Governors' Awareness Day here:

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  • The what, who, and why of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs)

    Published 19/02/24

    It’s really important as an educational practitioner to be searching for ways to expand your knowledge and expertise. We want our pupils to be the very best they can be and never stop learning - and the same applies to us!

    The National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are a national, voluntary suite of recognised professional qualifications - but what are they, who can take part in them and why are they so valuable?


    NPQs are part of a wider set of DFE reforms to teacher development. They offer opportunities to undertake continuous professional development (CPD) and earn a nationally recognised qualification at the end of the programme. 

    As part of the ‘golden thread’ of teacher development, NPQs offer high-quality, evidence-informed teacher development opportunities which span the entirety of a teacher’s career. 


    NPQs are designed for teachers, leaders and aspiring leaders. The HISP Teaching School Hub works with two NPQ lead training providers: Education Development Trust (EDT) and Best Practice Network (home of Outstanding Leaders Partnership) (BPN).

    If you’re interested in undertaking an NPQ, you can explore the different options available to you here


    There’s a wide range of NPQ courses available to you, covering topics such as literacy, headship, behaviour and culture, and more. They’re a way of earning a qualification, giving you the confidence you need to take on new responsibilities and challenges and take the next steps in your career. 

    Find out more about how the HISP Teaching School Hub can support you to undertake an NPQ here.

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  • Our second trust-wide inset day

    Published 08/02/24

    Colleagues from across our schools came together for a day of learning, collaboration and discussion about how we can work together to shape a curriculum which challenges, inspires and nurtures each and every one of our pupils.

    We were also delighted to welcome guest speakers Bennie Kara and Marc Rowland who shared some valuable insights into how we can best support disadvantaged learners and build a more diverse curriculum.

    Bennie Kara is an experienced teacher and the co-founder of Diverse Educators, a training company championing diversity, equity and inclusion in the education sector. Marc Rowland has worked with the Department for Education, numerous local authorities and over 500 individual schools to support their inclusion strategies. 

    We’re so pleased to be able to welcome such inspiring speakers for our inset day, and we hope everyone who attended took away lots of valuable new insights. 

    Thank you to all of our colleagues for your hard work organising the day!

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  • Test Valley School joins HISP!

    Published 01/02/24
    Test Valley School in Longstock joined the HISP MAT family of schools today! Test Valley School has partnered with us to benefit from our extensive school improvement networks, resources, and collaboration of the latest learning practices.&nb
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February 2024