Advanced Qualification

An advanced qualification awarded by a university ranked Gold under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Community Governance offers a range of advanced qualifications which are all distance learning with residential study days. The qualification looks at the way in which people and organisations work together and independently, making decisions for the benefit of a local community. Study for a qualification awarded by De Montfort University (DMU):

  • Certificate of Higher Education (Level 4)
  • Foundation Degree (Level 5)
  • Honours Degree (Level 6)

Choose your qualification – students are able to achieve the Level 4 qualification without pressure to proceed to Levels 5 and 6.

Click here to find out how Community Governance will benefit your council. To find out more about the 2023 course or express an interest please email [email protected]

Community Governance

Embarking on the Higher Education Community Governance Course - Is It Right For Me?

The ‘Embarking on the Higher Education Community Governance Course – Is It Right For Me?’ sessions are an opportunity for those interested in progressing to the next level after the CiLCA qualification, to find out more information about the Community Governance qualification and being a student on the course. You will be able to ask your questions to members of the teaching team and have an opportunity to hear from current students on the course.

If you would like to attend one of the sessions, please click here to view the available dates.

How do I study?

Community Governance is a distance learning programme – you study at home or at work.

  • We provide course materials and lots of pointers to help you study.
  • Networking is vital; you learn from other students and from experienced tutors. You will be required to attend three, 24-hour residential study days during your study year.
  • Local tutorials and webinars can be arranged on request.
  • You also join our online space where you find resources and discussion forums.
  • We provide tutors and help you to find fellow students who enrich your experience of learning.
  • You complete your coursework – usually one or two projects per module. Each module involves an average of 150 hours of study over the year (or approximately 3 hours a week). This includes private study time, attendance at teaching events and time spent learning from what you do in the workplace.
  • 120 CPD points per Level or 60 CPD points per year of study.

What will it cost?

The tuition fee for each qualification (for a February start) is £6,500 (£3,250 per year) normally paid in instalments over two years with an initial deposit of £375 (the deposit covers administration and registration process for starting the course) which will be deducted from the first invoice.

Student finance – Level 5 and Level 6 students can apply for student finance (if they have studied Level 4.) Click here for more information.

The fee covers:

  • Course materials
  • Teaching from highly experienced and qualified tutors
  • An online learning environment – online meeting and tutorial platform
  • Attendance at three study days, at least one of which will be in-person
  • Tutorials by mutual agreement
  • Administration and record keeping
  • Student support services – full access to a University library and its resources online, as well as learning guides, support and a specific librarian contact.
  • A fee to the University
  • Many students have support from their councils and in some cases bursaries or extended payment plans are available. Invoices are sent out after the first study day when you have confirmed the modules you choose to study and payments are due in April each year
  • In undertaking this course, you may incur further costs that are not included in the tuition fee. Click here to view the additional costs.

What will I learn?

More information on the modules you will study at each Level can be found in the Community Governance Prospectus 2023

Community Governance students are required to complete a dissertation as part of their degree. Click here to view previous students research and findings in a specific area of parish and town council work.

Who does what?

Course Leader
Angie Hurren BEM BA Hons FSLCC has been Clerk to Broadclyst Parish Council, Devon since 2013, having worked as Administrator there for two years prior to her promotion.  Angie graduated with a first-class Honours degree in Community Governance from De Montfort University, joining the teaching team in 2022 and becoming course leader in January 2023.

Senior Support Tutor
Elisabeth Skinner MBE Teaching Fellow, Cert Ed, BA Hons, FSLCC joined the SLCC in 2012. After an early career in school teaching, she worked at the University of Gloucestershire from 1989 to 2012 as lecturer.

Senior Support Tutor
Johnathan Bourne BA (Hons), FSLCC was Town Clerk at Royal Wootton Bassett from 1987 until his retirement in 2020.  In 2013, he completed three years as Chair of the SLCC returning for a further year in 2016.  Johnathan has completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Module Tutor
James Derounian Sc MPhil MRTPI FHEA FSLCC, is a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Lecturer Community Engagement and Governance at the University of Gloucestershire. James’ teaching, action research and consultancy relate to local governance, rural social issues and community engagement.

Module Tutor
Sue Hobbs has worked in the local council sector since 1995, for six years as Assistant Clerk, then 15 years as Clerk to a medium sized council near Southampton.  She graduated from the University of Gloucestershire in 2014, working for three years as a self-employed locum clerk and has been involved in the Community Governance course since graduation.  Sue is a Module Tutor, CiLCA trainer, and co-manages the CiLCA programme.

Module Tutor
Kelly Holland BA (Hons)is a clerk and RFO to Canewdon Parish Council, Essex, a CiLCA trainer and SEND support tutor. She graduated with a first-class Honours degree in Community Governance from De Montfort University and is currently studying for the MA in Public Leadership and Management with De Montfort University. Kelly joined the teaching team in 2022.

Module Tutor
Sheridan Jacklin-Edward BA (Hons) MA FSLCC is Town Clerk to Henley-on-Thames and has worked in local government at both parish and principal authority level for over 20 years. He has a first-class honours degree in Community Governance and joined the teaching team in 2023.

Module Tutor
Cally Morris BA (Hons) graduated with a first-class Honours degree in 2021, joining the teaching team in September.  Cally has been a clerk since 2004, becoming Clerk to Burghfield in Berkshire in 2011 and also Monk Sherborne, a small parish in Hampshire.  Cally entered clerking with no previous experience, progressing from Working with Your Council, completing her CiLCA and then onto the Community Governance Degree.

Module Tutor
Sally Thurston BA (Hons) is a new tutor to the course. She graduated with a first class Honours degree in Community Governance in 2020 and is currently studying for an MA in Public Leadership with De Montfort University. Sally has been Town Clerk to Faringdon Town Council, Oxfordshire since 2014. She is really excited to join the team and is looking forward to supporting students on their study journey.

Personal Tutor
Penny Bryant BA (Hons) FSLCC has been a Personal Tutor for some years and is a graduate of the University of Gloucestershire Community Engagement & Governance degree course.  She has been Clerk to Somersham Parish Council, Cambridgeshire since 1998; Somersham was the first parish council to be awarded Quality Gold in the Local Council Award Scheme in 2016.  Penny is also currently the Chief Executive of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Association of Local Councils, is a CiLCA trainer and and SEND support tutor.

Hear from our students...

“I started Level 4 with trepidation in 2021 when unfortunately COVID-19 put an end to the face-to-face study days which reverted, like everything else, to on-line sessions. Despite this, the tutors were great, and help was only an email or phone call away.  Year 2 soon came around and we were able to meet in person helping friendships develop and making learning easier, for me at least.   My confidence has increased and I have developed as clerk during the last two years.  Level 5 was never originally in my plan, but I find myself a Year 1 student, embarking on the next phase!”

Emma James PSLCC, Clerk & RFO to Okehampton Town Council

“I have just started Level 5, 6 years after completing Level 4. Why? Simply because the value I felt that both I and my council gained from the Cert HE  was such that we would improve yet further if I complete the full course. Our wide scoping knowledge that we accumulate to effectively do our job, is underlined by exploring the relevant legislation. Alongside our problem solving and innovation challenged to develop those completely transferable skills to the real life setting of our communities,  equipped to get the best out of ourselves, our teams and our communities. I’m glad I’m studying again and would recommend this course to every clerk.”

Julie Holden, Clerk to East Grinstead Town Council

“If you think Level 4 will be too academic and not for you, think again.  Everything this level covers relates to actual issues you will encounter in your job even if your council is not very large.  At times the learning did feel a little daunting but the assignments were carefully structured and you are supported throughout by a personal tutor, so it never felt overwhelming.  There were opportunities for in-depth study of practical topics such as laws & procedures, the planning system, finance and audit, which helped me develop fresh approaches to my day-to-day work.  Larger themes were woven across the whole course which allowed time to develop a deeper and broader understanding of topics ranging from community engagement to governance.   My learning journey and the friendships I made with fellow students were so worthwhile and I’m still learning at Level 6.  I have loved the experience which has opened my eyes to new ideas and made me a more thoughtful, reflective and hopefully effective officer.”

Daphne Dunning, Clerk to Pucklechurch Parish Council

Community Governance is generously sponsored by Blachere Illumination

For expert advice call 01337 832910 or visit

Blachere Illumination are the sponsor of National Conference 2021