NGA staff

The head office of the NGA is in the centre of Birmingham, where our staff team provide a service to members and manage the business life of the association.

Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive

Emma is Chief Executive of the National Governance Association (NGA) - the leading charity for guidance, advice, research, and professional development for school governors, trustees, governing boards and their clerks. Prior to her appointment in 2010 she was joint CEO of the Daycare Trust. Before that, she worked in a number of roles primarily in the voluntary sector, including Child Poverty Action Group and Citizens Advice, but also at the Legal Services Commission and the Local Government Association. As well as leading projects on child poverty and educational attainment, Emma has written on a wide range of topics and is co-author of the NGA’s Chair’s Handbook.

Emma regularly addresses legislators and the media on governance issues, as well as audiences of those governing and leading schools. She was a governor at a secondary school in Warwickshire for 7 years, a founding trustee of the Foundation for Leadership in Education and currently a member of the Chartered College’s Leadership Advisory Group. She has served on a number of recent commissions: ASCL’s Ethical Leadership Commission, NAHT’s Accountability Commission, the Commission on Religious Education, and the Knowsley Education Commission.

Emma was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year's Honours list for services to education.

Follow Emma on Twitter @NGAMedia. Email:

Gillian Allcroft, Deputy Chief Executive

Gillian Allcroft is NGA's Deputy Chief Executive. Gillian's role includes developing policy, representing NGA at external meetings and oversight of NGA's Policy, Information and Advice team.  She is the author of our induction guide for trustees of multi academy trusts and is commissioning editor of NGA’s magazine Governing Matters.

Gillian worked for the National Governors' Council prior to its merger with the National Association of School Governors to form the NGA in 2006.

Before that she worked at the Department for Education. She is chair of governors at a junior school in Solihull.


Heidi Copland, Chief Operating Officer 

Heidi Copland is Chief Operating Officer at NGA. Heidi oversees the Finance Team, Business Development Team, Marketing &  Communications Team, Membership Team and Professional Development Team at NGA.

Prior to joining the NGA Heidi worked in business development in the education sector working with further education colleges, universities, private enterprises, training providers and charities.

Heidi governs at a primary school in Warwickshire.



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