Skills Audit and Skills Matrix

Click here to read the Governing Matters article from the May/June 2017 edition of Governing Matters on why the skills audit forms an essential part of good governance practice!

NGA has published a brand new version of its much used skills audit tool. In the 2016 NGA/TES survey, 83% of respondents said their governing board uses a skills audit, with 64% using it to identify training needs and 54% using it for recruitment. The audit can be used to help identify any knowledge, experience, skills and behaviours your governing board still needs to deliver their functions effectively.

How the NGA model has changed and why

In January 2017, the DfE released a new Competency Framework for Governance, structured around the DfE’s newly identified “six features of Effective Governance”.  The governance handbook 2017 states that “Boards should carry out regular audits of the skills they possess in the light of the skills and competences they need, taking account of the department’s Competency framework for governance”. 

The Competency framework has been written to cover all possible bases in school governance, from boards governing small standalone primary schools to the trust boards of large MATs overseeing the performance of multiple schools. It should be used to provide clarification of government expectations, rather than as a set prescribed checklist – but NGA is already aware of it being used as a checklist or governor job specification by some. NGA firmly feel that governing boards are best placed themselves to individually assess which areas outlined in the framework are most important for them, and so while the new skills audit is structured around the DfE’s six features of effective governance, it doesn’t attempt to replicate all 200-plus competencies, knowledge, skills and behaviours included. Instead it combines the core aspects of the framework with the priceless experience and feedback of our members to inform the skills, experiences and knowledge included.  

How to use it

To take account of the significant differences of governing as a MAT trustee compared to governing as a maintained school governor, trustee of a single academy trusts or academy committee member (often referred to as local governing bodies)., NGA has developed two separate models:

  • Model 1 - to be used by maintained school governors including those governing in a federation, trustees of single academy trusts and academy committee members (often referred to as local governing bodies)
  • Model 2 - to be used by trustees of multi-academy trusts only.

An individual governor/trustee/academy committee member is not expected to have all the skills listed in the audit, but they should be covered across the governing body.