Governing boards who conduct self-evaluation and regularly review their impact are more likely to:

  • deliver core functions in an effective, ethical and accountable way
  • assure compliance
  • continuously improve
  • achieve improved outcomes for pupils

Many boards carry out informal self-evaluation such as setting aside a few minutes at the end of each meeting to reflect on decisions taken and the impact on pupils in the school or trust.

Annual board self-evaluation

The Governance Handbook advises boards to evaluate themselves on a routine basis. We recommend that self-evaluation takes place annually. This is likely to consist of the board asking themselves reflective questions that cover: 

  • board culture and practice
  • board structure
  • core functions
  • compliance
  • evaluation and impact

NGA self-evaluation tools

Self-evaluation questions

NGA has developed a collection of questions for governing boards to ask themselves, which includes:

  • questions for multi academy trust boards and academy committees (local governing bodies)
  • questions for those governing in maintained schools and single academy trusts

Online self-evaluation

Our online self-evaluation uses the same questions, automatically collating responses into two reports and includes:

  • guidance on how to set up and run your self-evaluation
  • an optional mentor session with an NGA consultant
  • template documents to guide you through an analysis of your evaluation report and the creation of a governance action plan

Find out more and book an online self-evaluation

How to conduct self-evaluation

1. Schedule time within your annual cycle - self-evaluation often takes place at the end of the academic year so that governors/trustees are reviewing the year as a whole. If you are planning an external review of governance, find out if if this will include self-evaluation for the board.

2. Consider cost - self-evaluation doesn't need to come with a cost. However, if the governance CPD budget is adequate, we recommend that you explore options such as online self-evaluation that can be highly effective and may save the board and governance professional time.

3. Set time aside to complete the evaluation and analyse responses: part of a meeting could be devoted to the discussion of a series of questions. Alternatively, the governance professional could circulate the questions, collect and collate responses, and bring the results to a meeting. 

We recommend that the governance professional provides organisational and administrative support throughout the process.

External reviews of governance

Objective independent external review of the effectiveness of the board can be a more powerful diagnostic tool than a self-evaluation. This is particularly important before the board undertakes any significant change... 
The Governance Handbook

An external review of governance (ERG) is conducted by an experienced governance expert who is external to, and independent of, the board and the executive leaders.

An ERG examines the governance structure and practice, working closely with the board, executive leaders and the governance professional to evaluate the board’s performance.

Find out more about ERGs and how NGA can help

Other types of governance evaluation and review

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