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Governors' training network unravels

The governors' training network, Action for Governors' Information and Training, is to be wound up just as the Government makes a new push to improve the effectiveness of school governing bodies, Biddy Passmore writes.

The management committee agreed to dissolve the organisation because of lack of money, at an extraordinary meeting in Birmingham last week. It has been hit by the squeeze on local government spending and the end of earmarked funds for governor training in school budgets.

It could no longer afford to pay for a director, and the office was due to close on Christmas Eve.

Jane Martin, chair of AGIT, said she was confident it would be replaced by a new, more "robust" organisation to support governors' training. Members of the management committee would be speaking to the Department for Education and Employment and other governor organisations in the new year about creating a successor, she said.

Too late for AGIT, the funding of governor training is set to improve in 1998 when it will once again be earmarked in school budgets. For the past few years, it has been subsumed within the "school effectiveness grant" that covers training and development of both governors and teachers.

AGIT was founded in 1987 to help local authorities meet the 1986 Act requirement to provide "such training as they think requisite" for school governors.

It has received funds from subscriptions from members (local government training co-ordinators, as well as individual schools and other institutions), income from publications and training, and grants for specific projects from the DFEE.

While governor training has made great strides over the past decade, it remains patchy. Chief inspector Chris Woodhead wrote in his 1996 annual report that it was "often haphazard" and said some governors remained "understandably but shortsightedly reluctant to spend money on their own development".

Leader, page 8 The organisation will continue to sell its publications, such as the Pounds 1 Do It Better guides. The Pounds 35 Tool Kit will be sold under licence. AGIT, Manor Hall, Sandy Lane, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 6RD. Tel 01926 413740

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