Release date: 28/02/2020

The impact that good governance in schools and trusts makes on the outcomes of pupils must be given more recognition and attention the National Governance Association (NGA) says, as it launches the Visible Governance in Schools campaign with the backing of other leading education organisations.

Governance is about who has the power, who makes the decisions, how other people make their voices heard and how account is rendered. Governors and trustees make a significant contribution to education, but they are not the only ones who need to be involved in ensuring good governance: #VisibleGovernance is about organisations and people in the schools sector working together so that everyone understands how they can engage to ensure the best possible decisions are made in the interests of children and young people.

Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, comments: “I am pleased to support the NGA’s new Visible Governance campaign, which shines a spotlight on the invaluable work that over 250,000 volunteer governors do in schools all around the country. I want to see robust and effective governance in every school and trust – this is key to the success of our school system, in which all children and young people will thrive.”

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments: “ASCL is delighted to back the Visible Governance campaign to highlight the vital contribution of governors and trustees. People freely give up their time to do these unpaid roles so that they can make a difference, providing in equal measure the scrutiny and support which helps schools to deliver successful outcomes for their pupils. Visible Governance is a great way of celebrating their work as well as encouraging others to become governors and trustees so they too can make a difference.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, comments: “NAHT recognises the critical role that school governance plays in the health and success of the school system, and promotes the need for governing boards and school leaders to effectively work together to ensure school improvement. We are pleased to see these volunteers being given more attention, as we need high-quality individuals who can best represent their school communities, with an emphasis on diversity and an insistence on mandatory training. As such we will commit to making governance more visible within our work in 2020, supporting school leaders to engage well with their governing boards in the interests of children and young people.”

Stephen Morales, CEO, the Institute of School Business Leadership comments: “ISBL recognises that good governance is a really important part of successful schools and trusts, as one of the three pillars of education leadership. We commit to making governance more visible within our work throughout 2020, and we encourage school business professionals to support the campaign and recognise the role of school governance too. We know that so many school business professionals already choose to govern in a different school/trust and that they really value the experience, in particular how it enables them to work more effectively with their own governing board, and hope to encourage many more to do so.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, comments: “School and trust governance is almost always invisible when it is working well, and very much in the spotlight when things go wrong. We are proud to have already secured the support of so many partners who we know will do everything they can to celebrate good governance and ensure it has more prominence and is more valued within the school system. NGA and our partners know that by governors and trustees supporting and challenging executive leaders, being accountable to the community and setting the long-term vision for schools and trusts, they are playing a critical role in ensuring the very best outcomes for children and young people. Good governance is not just an insurance policy which picks up the pieces when things have gone awry; it is a central component of a successful organisation.”

Providing support from day one of the campaign, other organisations that have so far signed up include Chartered College of Teaching, the Teaching Schools Council, Forum Strategy, the Fair Education Alliance, the Independent Schools Council, the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS), Academy Ambassadors and Ambition Institute.

The Visible Governance in Schools campaign, which will run throughout 2020, will celebrate the power of governance, the people that volunteer for the role and the value that good governance brings to the school system.

People governing in schools and academy trusts, and people who support  are also being encouraged are being urged to promote their contribution to the education system and shine a light on the difference that good governance makes to the organisation’s success. It is hoped that collective action by some of the quarter of a million people governing schools and trusts will achieve a higher profile and better understanding of governance, and lead to more volunteering and more effective governing boards working better with school leaders.

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