Somerset school governance professional scoops national award for outstanding practice

Ann Adams, Service Manager at Somerset County Council’s Support Services for Education (SSE), was a finalist in the outstanding lead governance professional category at the National Governance Association’s (NGA) Outstanding Governance Awards 2021 on Thursday 9 September. The category – newly introduced for 2021 – recognises individuals leading and managing governance across several schools.

Ann was among 15 governing boards and eight governance professionals who received awards presented by Baroness Berridge (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System at the time).  

The awards celebrate the best of school and trust governance in England. They aim to recognise the achievements of volunteer school governors and trustees as well as governance professionals for their substantial and valuable contribution to education and their impact on the lives of children and young people.

Inviting Ann Adams to receive their finalist award Amy Wright, clerking development manager at NGA said that Ann is “held in high esteem for her service to governance across Somerset”. Judges described her “passion for providing governance advice, training and support” as contagious and commended how Ann puts “relationships and genuine collaboration at the centre” of her work.  

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Public Health, said: “Congratulations to Ann on this significant achievement. The work that Ann and her team do is so important to the delivery of excellent education in Somerset and I’m so pleased to see their efforts rewarded in this way.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association said: “The story of success demonstrated by Ann underlines how governance professionals truly contribute to the sustainability of our schools and the educational achievement and wellbeing of children and young people. Ann showed us her passion for improving governance and for improving outcomes for pupils. We are very proud to recognise her achievement.”

In a speech before presenting the awards Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System said: “These awards recognise both the excellent contributions that each of you are making and the importance of working together as a team. That collective endeavour ensures that children are receiving the best education possible, giving them the best start in life… You are driving relentless ambition for the young people served by our schools’ system, whatever the circumstances. I would like to convey my deepest gratitude to you today.”  

Somerset County Council is looking for volunteer school governors willing to donate their time to help improve the lives of children in local schools and academies. Becoming a governor or trustee is a great way to gain experience that might not be offered in a working role, see young people and staff progress and develop, and spend free time doing something rewarding and worthwhile. Anyone interested in finding out more is encouraged to contact Somerset Governance Services by emailing or calling 0300 790 6855.  


For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email

Notes to Editors

Photo caption: Ann Adams (left) receives her award from Baroness Berridge (right).

About NGA

The National Governance Association (NGA) is the membership organisation for governors, trustees and governance professionals of state schools in England. We are an independent, not-for-profit charity that aims to improve the educational standards and wellbeing of young people by increasing the effectiveness of governing boards and promoting high standards. We are expert leaders in school and trust governance, providing information, advice and guidance, professional development and e-learning. We represent the views of governors, trustees and governance professionals at a national level and work closely with, and lobby, UK government and educational bodies.

2021 finalists in full:

Outstanding clerk to a governing board

WINNER Sarah Steven – The Galaxy Trust, Kent

HIGHLY COMMENDED Lesley Hardwick – The Education People Clerking Service, schools in Kent

FINALIST Beth Yap – Frontier Learning Trust, London

FINALIST Kate Williams – South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust, Cornwall

Outstanding lead governance professional

WINNER Carina Sawyer – Magna Learning Partnership, Wiltshire

HIGHLY COMMENDED Becky Poynter – Unity Schools Partnership, East of England and East London

FINALIST Ann Adams – Support Services for Education, Somerset

FINALIST Karen Froggatt – Wellspring Academy Trust, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Outstanding vision and strategy

WINNER Learn Academies Trust, Leicestershire

WINNER Riccall Community Primary School, North Yorkshire

FINALIST Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust, Teesside and North Yorkshire

FINALIST Wellspring Academy Trust, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Outstanding governance in a single school

WINNER Cleeve School, Gloucestershire

HIGHLY COMMENDED Pathways Learning Centre, South Gloucestershire

FINALIST Snaith Primary School, East Riding of Yorkshire

FINALIST Caroline Haslett Primary School, Milton Keynes

Outstanding governance in a multi academy trust

WINNER Anglian Learning, East of England

WINNER STEP Academy Trust, South London and East Sussex

FINALIST Nexus MAT, Yorkshire

FINALIST Northern Star Academies Trust, North and West Yorkshire

FINALIST Unity Schools Partnership, East of England and East London

Outstanding governance in a federation

WINNER Castle Church of England Federation, Hertfordshire

WINNER Islington Futures Federation, London