What governing boards and school leaders should expect from each other

Download guidance: what governing boards and school leaders should expect from each other (PDF)

This guide covers four key areas:

  • the respective roles of governance and management

  • developing and supporting the governing board

  • effective ways of working

  • understanding the organisation and engaging with stakeholders.

This is the fifth edition of the guide, written and backed by the National Governance Association (NGA), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Institute of School Business Leaders (ISBL). It aims to improve the effectiveness of governance by developing mutually supportive and respectful working practices between those leading and those governing schools.

The authors state that “it is the view of our organisations that all governing boards and school leaders should meet the expectations set out in this document; evidenced through the adoption of a code of conduct.”

The guide covers a number of themes, including:

Executive leader understanding of governance

Whilst those governing must understand their role, remit and responsibilities within their specific context, executive leaders must have an understanding of governance including acknowledging the role of the school’s accountable body. This understanding could come as a direct result of the executive leader governing in a different school, an idea driven by NGA’s Educators on Board campaign. The guide states that governors and trustees must have a commitment to asking challenging questions to hold school leaders to account, and executive leaders must be willing to provide information in the most appropriate way for the governing board to carry out its role.

Regularly reviewing the information that boards receive

Governing boards should regularly review the content, format and frequency of the information it requests from executive leaders to ensure it remains useful and effective, while remaining mindful of workload implications for school leaders and staff. There is also an increased emphasis on wider working relationships such as those between the board and the school business professional where the guidance states “it is important that governing boards both understand the specific remit of the school business professional’s role as it applies to their school or trust and how to best utilise the information and support that they can provide”.

This guidance is available to both NGA members and non-members.

Download guidance: what governing boards and school leaders should expect from each other (PDF)

Join our webinar: a partnership with senior leaders

On Thursday 20 May at 4.30pm, Emma Knights, NGA Chief Executive, will host a webinar exploring:

  • The respective roles of the governing board and those employed to run the trust or school
  • What good working relationships with senior leaders look and feel like
  • How mutual trust and respect can be developed and earned
  • The co-construction of the organisation’s strategy

Register for the webinar here

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Our Knowledge Centre contains 100s of resources available exclusively for members. If you’re a governor, trustee, clerk or governance professional, you can subscribe as an individual or as a board to use our guidance, templates and model policies. Other member benefits include networking events, newsletters, and our Governing Matters magazine. Find out more and sign up here.

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