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Governance and equality, diversity and inclusion

NGA’s guidance, resources and campaigns on equality, diversity and inclusion cover:

  • Governing board diversity: composition, recruitment and creating an inclusive environment
  • The board’s role in encouraging diversity and ensuring equality: in determining ethos and culture; when recruiting executive and senior leaders; as employers of all staff; and in the direct impact on pupils (eg oversight of the curriculum, monitoring of behaviour and exclusions, and outcomes)
  • Increasing the number of volunteers from underrepresented groups (particularly people from Black, Asian or minority ethnicities and young people aged 40 and under) that join governing boards.

Instilling a culture of EDI throughout your setting

The below resources are designed to provide insight, understanding and awareness to assist boards when having and navigating discussions around equality, diversity and inclusion and to empower boards to take action:

Increasing participation in school and trust governance - This report explores volunteer recruitment and retention through the lens of the experiences and views of governors and trustees from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and young volunteers (aged under 40) alongside data from NGA’s annual survey 2021 and a review of research from other sectors. Read the report on our research page.

Closing the gender pay gap in education (2021) - this analysis explores the gender pay gap differences across the education sector and whether there has been any progress in reducing the gap in recent years. The analysis was conducted by WomenEd, ASCL, NAHT and NGA. Read the analysis on our research page.

Right people around the table - this updated guidance provides practical advice to help ensure that your board has the right blend of knowledge, skills, perspectives and backgrounds to govern effectively. Read the guidance.

Skills audit - the 2021 skills audit now provides those governing with an opportunity to evaluate their experience and understanding of the communities they serve and their capacity to lead an inclusive culture. Find out more in the Knowledge Centre.

Tools to support equality, diversity and inclusion - NGA has collated a variety of tools to help boards evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies for promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. Go to the Knowledge Centre.

Statement of intent on equality, diversity and inclusion in education - NGA is a co-signatory to the sector-led statement of action and commitments published in June 2021. View the Statement of Intent.

Everyone on Board - NGA's Everyone on Board campaign aims to address histroic underrepresentation of young people and people from ethnic minorities in school governance to improve outcomes for all pupils. 

The Young Governors’ Network (YGN) - NGA's Young Governors’ Network supports and encourages young governors and trustees under 40  to share thier experiences, address challenges and opportunities and create relevant and sustainable connections. YGN hosts termly virtual meetings which provide an informal opportunity for young governors and trustees to netwrok and discuss thier roles. 

Board diversity and inclusion resources

A governing board needs a balance and diversity of volunteers with different skills, experiences, backgrounds, perspectives and attributes to fulfil its role effectively. It helps more robust discussions to take place and better decisions to be made. When the people around the table come from different places and think different things there is sufficient challenge which ensures better decisions are made in the interests of all pupils. Visit our Everyone on Board campaign page to find out more about board diversity statistics and the benefits of a diverse board.

NGA guidance and resources  

  • Diversity Indicators - The NGA diversity indicators form can be used by governing boards in all types of school structures to gather diversity data on their membership and use this to inform discussion and action. 
  • The Right People Around the Table – a guide to recruiting and retaining school governors and trustees
  • Skills audit – helps governing boards to identify where they need to develop knowledge, skills and behaviour to deliver their functions effectively.
  • Increasing participation in school and trust governance – a state of the nation report on recruiting and retaining volunteers from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Model role descriptions – role descriptions for chairs, governors, trustees, governance professionals and clerks to help introduce volunteers to the role
  • Virtual governance resources – find out how virtual governance and the future of a blended approach to board meetings can support recruitment and inclusion
  • School Governance in 2020 – find out the latest information on governing board composition regionally and nationally

Other resources

"More than ever we also need diverse boards, and the Handbook has been updated to emphasise the expectation that recruitment processes should encourage volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and perspectives, that better reflect the communities they serve."
Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, writing in the Governance Handbook, October 2020

The board’s role in diversity and equality resources

NGA guidance and resources


  • Diversity begins with boards: a Governing Matters article on promoting equality, diversity and inclusion from board level
  • Diversity: moving the dial: a Governing Matters article setting out how everyone involved in governance can contribute to increasing the diversity of characteristics and thought around the board table.
  • Influencing leadership: a Governing Matters article on how to encourage diversity, promote development and focus on wellbeing
  • Tackling racial inequity in schools: a Governing Matters interview with Professor Paul Miller, founder of Education Equity Services
  • Championing diversity: a Governing Matters article on how boards can promote equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Supporting LGBT pupils: Young people thrive when difference is celebrated. Holly Green, education programmes manager at Stonewall, offers five ways to make that happen

Our commitments and action

NGA has published a series of commitments to demonstrate how we have committed to improving diversity on governing boards, particularly in relation to race. Read the blog on our commitments. We are also involved in various projects and initiatives around diversity and governance, and engage with governors, trustees, governance professionals and education professionals to understand experiences, needs and insight.

Commitments and progress

1. NGA will conduct research on the experience of governors and trustees from Black, Asian or minority ethnicities and those aged under 40, and on the views and perceptions of people from these groups that do not currently volunteer. 

Our action: We published the Increasing participation in school and trust governance report in June 2021. 

2. Improve our information, guidance and e-learning for governing boards on equalities and diversity and ensure it is threaded through our suite of information and guidance. 

Our action:

3. Support the creation of a BAMEed Network governance hub

Our action: We developed the NGA and BAMEed steering group on governance and race with the BAMEed network. The group focussed on taking action on the ground to progress the issue of race diversity on governing boards.

4. Re-energise the Everyone on Board campaign.

Our action:

  • We hosted a podcast on Increasing participation in Governance (episode 14). Speaking to three Chairs and Governors, we discussed why diversity on boards is important. We explored how boards diversified their membership and supported new governors and trustees when they joined.

  • We hosted a podcast on Being a young governor (episode 18). In their own words two members of NGA’s Young Governors’ Network, talked about their experiences of being a young governor, the importance of diversity of thought and representation on boards and what they have learnt from governing. 

  • We arranged for three governors of Black and mixed heritage to take part in a the ‘conversations about race’ series on BBC Radio 4 World at One
  • We have developed partnerships with organisations including Operation Black Vote which include writing articles for their publication and presenting at events.

5. Continue to work with other national representative organisations to ensure as an education sector we are making progress and coordinating activity to maximise impact.

Our action: We have met and shared insight and progress with other national representative education organisations. In particular, we have met with representatives of ASCL’s BAME, women and LGBT networks and of NAHT’s Leaders for Race Equality network to hear directly from senior leaders about their experiences, what support they would like for their boards and to develop solutions for these needs.

NGA is a co-signatory to the sector-led statement of action and commitments published in June 2021. View the Statement of Intent.

6. Summarise and promote to governing boards a range of race charters, frameworks and audit tools that have been created for schools/trusts.

Our action: You can find the round-up in the Knowledge Centre.

7. Continue to report on the diversity of our own board.

Our action: NGA’s trustees recognise that, while reflecting the school and trust governance community, the board does not reflect wider society and the community schools serve. For its autumn 2020 and 2021 election, NGA encouraged members to nominate Black, Asian and minority ethnic governors, trustees and clerks for its board and promoted the opportunities widely.

Our other EDI work
  • NGA is a co-signatory to the sector-led statement of action and commitments on equality, diversity and inclusion in education published in June 2021. View the Statement of Intent.
  • NGA is signatory to the Department for Education’s statement of intent on diversity, which was published in October 2018. Read more about the statement and our commitment.
  • NGA is a strategic partner of the BAME forum, a local Birmingham network, where we have been involved in delivering a session on governance to current and aspiring leaders on the BAME forum’s development programme.
  • Submitted a response to the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities consultation in November 2020.

Visible Governance in Schools

In 2020, NGA launched its Visible Governance in Schools campaign to celebrate, champion and raise the profile of the impact of good governance on schools. We were delighted with how governance volunteers and professionals and the wider education community, embraced the campaign.

We see a future where governance is at the forefront of people’s minds when they think about schools, trusts and education. A future where the integral role governance plays in the success of schools and trusts is understood. 

Good governance is not an insurance policy which picks up the pieces when things have gone awry; it is a central component of a successful organisation. Through this collective action, we want school governance to take its rightful place as a visible, valued and understood component of the education system.

NGA has produced the film below as part of our Visible Governance campaign. It celebrates the power of governance, the people who volunteer and the value of governing to the education system. 
The film is designed to highlight the vital role governance plays in helping schools and trusts to flourish and the impact it has on your local community. 


Get involved

  • We welcome and encourage feedback on our work – please do send us any suggestions, comments or questions
  • If you are a governor or trustee from an underrepresented group, and are interested in participating in our work on equality, diversity and inclusion eg by sharing your story with us or being willing to share your experiences in the media, please get in touch
  • If your governing board has taken action to improve its diversity and inclusion, or has done proactive work in developing its role in equality, diversity and inclusion, no matter how small, we’d love to hear from you to share your practical tips with others

Please email to get involved.

Useful links

These resources are not directly related to governance but may be useful in supporting your learning, reflection and action.

Connect With Us
  • NGA, 36 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, B3 3JY
  • Phone: 0121 237 3780 | Contact Us
  • Charity Number: 1070331 | Company Number 3549029

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