Board Development

Professional development sessions for trust boards

These sessions are intended as an opportunity for boards, facilitated by experts, to refresh their understanding of the core principles of effective board level governance and to consider key trends and issues for board level governance; whilst also taking a step back to consider the current landscape for the trust sector and to consider the opportunities and risks facing boards here.

The session is led by Patrick Dunne, Forum Strategy Associate, author of ‘Boards’ and leading corporate governance practitioner and adviser across the public and private sector; and Michael Pain, Founder of Forum Strategy and author of ‘Being The CEO – the six dimensions of organisational leadership.

The session runs for 2.5 hours and is delivered online. There are two themes:

Part A: the characteristics of effective board-level governance (with some activities built in), with time for reflection on perceived strengths and weaknesses – led by Patrick Dunne. Patrick will also talk about some key and emerging developments in board-level governance and their implications.

PART B: the current landscape for the trust system and some of the strategic considerations for boards and their executives going forward, with time to reflect on opportunities and risks – led by Michael Pain.

Biographies of facilitators:

Patrick Dunne – Forum Strategy Associate

Patrick has extensive experience of working with boards around the world in the business, public body, education and social sectors. He Chairs board consultancy Boardelta and the charities EY Foundation and ESSA – Education Sub Saharan Africa. He is a Trustee of the Chartered Management Institute, a Visiting Professor at Cranfield and the Founder of Warwick in Africa.

The author of three other books on the subject, he was a member of the Higgs Review and is a regular contributor to board skills programmes, including the Financial Times Board Director Programme.

His executive career was with Air Products and FTSE100 3i Group plc where he was a member of its operating committee. He has a degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Warwick and an MBA from Cranfield

Michael Pain, Founder – Forum Strategy

Michael Pain is the founder of Forum Strategy and an entrepreneur, overseeing the development of successful businesses and a national network of well over one hundred Chief Executives. He is a long-standing strategic adviser to CEOs and Chairs, a qualified executive coach (Henley Business School), and author of the acclaimed book: ‘Being The CEO‘. In 2021, The Being The CEO framework was endorsed and published as the template job description for academy trust CEOs by the National Governance Association. Michael was Called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 2007. He is also a Co-owner/-Chair of Satis Education, a sector-leading executive recruitment organisation.

Visioning and Strategy Development Days

Forum Strategy delivers this one day event for trustees and executives in order to reflect on contextual wisdom – drawing on key social, economic, educational, and demographic trends – to refine their vision and to set strategy across the Trust. As well as providing a rich analysis of research and key trends, Forum Strategy enables trustees and executives to work together to reflect on their own growth and development within that context – and to undertake a number of activities in order to set strategy in response. We also provide an overview of key education and trust sector developments; drawing on analysis of successes and failures across the system – as well as identifying examples of new and innovative practices that contribute to sustained organisational success.

These days provide a rich mix of high quality professional development; practical activities that inform strategy; and a written summary of the event.

For more information on how to access a visioning and strategy development day for your trust board and executives, please email 

“Thank you Forum Strategy for supporting us through today, I am so excited about what comes next. The feedback on the event has been fantastic… I think we will look back on this as a significant turning point for the Trust.”

Chair of Trustees of a Multi-Academy Trust

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy Development Sessions

Forum Strategy delivers this half day session for Trust Boards and executive teams to guide the shaping of a Trust wide strategy to drive equality, diversity and inclusion across the organisation. Drawing on the expertise of our partner organisations, the latest research and intelligence on EDI issues (including but not limited to our national report on diversity amongst CEOs) and sharing good practice from within the education sector and beyond, we provide the opportunity for open and honest dialogue and support Trusts to set some realistic, measurable objectives that align with their overall vision and strategy. We broadly explore the following (but tailor content depending upon where the Trust is currently up to with the work):

  • Legal obligations and considerations (including the Equality Act 2010 and it’s implications at Trust level)
  • Strategic aspects (how the work will enable the delivery of wider objectives for the Trust)
  • Uncover challenges and guide honest, open and respectful discussions
  • Setting of objectives that meet strategic aims and are realistic, measurable and time specific
  • Resources and skills/knowledge analysis (exploring gaps that may need to be addressed)

For more information on how to access an EDI strategy development session for your trust board and executives, please email

This high quality, bespoke training provided Trustees and leaders with a shared understanding and starting point from which to develop the aims, objectives and measures for our EDI strategy. We have since appointed a Lead EDI role to drive our EDI strategy across the Trust and leaders are fully committed to prioritising and empowering developments in this vital area”

Jayne Foster

CEO, Ethos Academy Trust

Contact us for for more information

If you are interested in any of the services listed contact us for a full consultation.