Strong governance is essential for good schools. In too many schools, governing boards are not effective or confident enough. One of a governing board’s three key functions is to support and challenge headteachers; holding them to account so that pupils get the best possible education. But governing boards also need support and challenge.
Three years ago we set out to encourage governors to challenge themselves as the best governing boards already did. This first edition of 20 questions for governing bodies was developed by the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Key for School Governors but we consulted widely at the May 2012 meeting of the APPG
and published at the APPG’s summer 2012 reception.
Since then they have been used extensively by many governing boards across England when reviewing their governance practice, and it was timely to review them in the light of that experience. The second version of the twenty questions was agreed at the APPG meeting on 8 December 2014.
A number of organisations, including NGA and the Key, have developed material to both help governing boards evaluate their performance using these questions, and to take action following the review to improve governance practice.
These questions are being incorporated into a new guide to strategic planning for school governors and trustees called: Framework for School Governance
published by NGA and the Wellcome Trust.
Governing boards, especially those which are struggling, can be overwhelmed by too much irrelevant information, and we did not want this to become a great big handbook on how to be effective that would be overlooked. The questions do NOT attempt to cover every aspect of effective governance, give the answers, or replace existing good guidance. Of course governing boards have to use their limited time efficiently, and we offer these 20 questions to that end; there are other resources available to help governing bodies improve their practice, and NGA GOLD members seeking more support are encouraged to contact us.