Interview with one of our top Academy Governance students

Hear from a senior officer of corporate governance at an academy trust who completed her Certificate in Academy Governance course with top grades

Gill Darwood, senior officer of corporate governance at Dudley Academies Trust, recently learnt that she achieved one of the highest scores for her Certificate in Academy Governance course. She talks to us about why she took the course and how she’ll be putting her learning into practise. 

1. How does it feel to receive one of the highest scores for the Certificate in Academy Governance course?

I was amazed, but of course absolutely delighted, to receive my grade. It has been quite a long time since I undertook any formal studies, and many years since I had experienced a written exam (actually, when I completed my degree over 30 years ago!). It has given me a real confidence boost to know that I was able to produce some worthwhile answers!

2. What made you decide to undertake the Certificate in Academy governance course?

I have worked for my current employer, a large general Further Education College, for over 20 years.  In that time I had undertaken a number of corporate administration roles, but in September 2018 I was successful in being appointed Senior Officer Corporate Governance. In this role I have taken on responsibility for governance, not only for the College and its subsidiaries, but also a growing multi academy trust which the College sponsors.  So, whilst the college had a wealth of experience and expertise in further education governance, the academy sector was a completely new field for us. 

I am fortunate that governance is highly valued within my organisation and the Board has supported my professional development in order to ensure that governance for the newly established multi academy trust was as effective as that of the College.

3. How do you think the course has benefited you and how do you think you will apply what you have learnt to your everyday job?

The course has provided me with the knowledge and expertise to undertake my new role and as a result I find that I have much greater confidence in  my own knowledge and ability to be able to advise both trustees and the leadership team in matters of governance, legislation, risk management and compliance.  From the very early days during the course, I found that on a daily basis I was applying the knowledge I was gaining to my day to day role. The materials provided are also a valuable source of reference which I have continued to use after completion of the course.

4. Who would you recommend the Certificate in Academy governance course to?

The course content is well structured and provides a comprehensive (and concise) framework covering the key aspects which are required to lead effective governance in a multi academy trust.  I would say it should be an essential requirement for anyone undertaking the role of governance lead, or Clerk to the Board.  


For more information or guidance on Academy Governance, please visit here. We support company secretaries, clerks, trustees, governors and school leaders to meet the legal and regulatory requirements of academies and establish good governance practice in each school. 

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