About Karen Powell

I am passionate about governance and it has always been a privilege to work with dedicated, volunteer governors, assisting them in developing their knowledge, skills and evidence. I have also been delighted to play a key role in helping Trusts to develop their Trust Boards and local governance. I have written many schemes of delegation for academy trusts and developed over eight local governance handbooks.

School governance and school improvement has been part of my life for over 20 years. Effective School Governance Ltd is now in its seventh year and by developing my own company I have been able to work with clients all over the country and work with different and wide-ranging governing bodies, schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. I am delighted to be a regular conference speaker and trainer - currently delivering training and support for governors in Plymouth and for The White Horse Federation schools across Swindon, Oxford and Wiltshire, training for West Gloucestershire Support Partnership as well as working regularly with the Dioceses of Plymouth, Exeter and Gloucester.

As a Safer Recruitment accredited trainer I also deliver approximately 20 courses per year for senior leaders, business managers and governors. I also specialise in safeguarding training for governors and am an Ambassador for CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) who work across the UK tackling child sex abuse.

Before starting up Effective School Governance Ltd I spent seven years as the Governor Development Officer for Plymouth Local Authority supporting and developing the work of governors and clerks in over 100 schools and working with schools in all categories. During this time I secured and held the national Customer Service Excellence award for 6 years. I planned professional development training programmes for governors; devising and delivering courses on a range of school improvement issues. I developed a range of resources which supported governance improvement including governance annual plans, governor action plans and self-evaluation tools.

My career started in banking and then led to accountancy. I am still a Company Secretary of a large residential property development and have a secure understanding of Company Law.

I am a Chair of governors in a Special School and a local governor of an academy which is part of a MAT. I also had 6 years clerking experience for over 10 schools.

The work of governors and Trustees can impact the life chances of our children and young people. I am delighted to play my part in this work.
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Recent achievements

Helping new Chairs and watching them grow in confidence
Working with clerks to governing bodies - increasing their skills and effectiveness
Supporting school governing bodies through difficult times, this has included the bereavement of a Chair and Vice Chair, disputes with the Headteacher, post inspection recovery and school amalgamations
Devising a five module course 'Satisfactory to Good' to work with 11 schools in this category over a two month period. Six months later seven schools had been inspected and had received good judgements. Two others were awaiting Ofsted inspections and later also gained a good judgement

What our clients say...

I have worked alongside Karen in dealing with a number of very complex and difficult issues which has required the ability to grasp and understand situations and resolve them. Karen has a professional approach and is able to motivate others through the training programmes she has delivered. She has successfully managed a high performing team to meet the needs...

Graeme Catling, HR Adviser Plymouth Leadership Partnership
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