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This is the report of the largest survey ever undertaken on the state of school governance by the University of Bath and the National Governance Association (NGA).
Based on a survey of over 7,500 school governors across England, it estimates that the value of governors’ contribution to the education system is over £1bn per year. Governors of all types of schools took part, including academy governors.
Findings from The State of School Governing in England 2014 highlight the increased importance of school governors under the new education system and both the challenges of governing and of recruiting volunteers.
Nick Chambers, Director of the Education and Employer Taskforce welcomed the report, saying: “As a new era in the history of school governance begins, the report celebrates the work of hundreds of thousands of individuals who volunteer their time, free of charge, to provide leadership and accountability within our schools.”
Generally governance practice is improving with more challenge of headteachers by governors, and a great commitment to training and development. The report also recommends that, although most governors are in paid employment and are professionals or managers, more should be done to organise governors on work-friendly lines, so that people in paid employment can participate easily.
The report reveals that schools in disadvantaged settings or with low Ofsted grades are particularly struggling to recruit skilled people to take on the governor role – precisely where they are needed most. It is also reported that 96 per cent of respondents are white.
Lead Author, Professor Chris James of the University of Bath, said: “The recruitment of governors would be helped by greater recognition and valuing the contribution that school governors make. Central government has a role here in acknowledging and appreciating the responsibility governors undertake on its behalf.
“Employers have a role too in making it easier for their employees to be involved. What is very clear from our research is that recruiting governors can be very difficult and we need more volunteers with the right qualities.”