Release date: 04/09/2018

School governing boards and clerks are set to gain recognition for their outstanding practice in the National Governance Association’s biennial Outstanding Governance Awards, which are once again open for nominations.

As the only national education awards to recognise the contribution of governors and trustees, and the clerks that support them, the Outstanding Governance Awards provide entrants with a unique opportunity to gain recognition through a rigorous judging process, lead the way as an exemplar of good school governance and reflect on their practice against the award criteria.

The awards also identify best practice in school governance and clerking, and enable the sharing of this across the school system.

The awards will recognise achievements in four categories:

  • Outstanding governing board in a single school

Exploring how the governing board fulfils its core functions along with NGA’s eight elements of effective governance, this award recognises a governing board that delivers effective governance and outstanding leadership in a single school. Nominees in this category must have gone beyond the basics of their core responsibilities to have a significant impact on the school.

  • Outstanding governing board in a group of schools

Accounting for the different challenges and opportunities in governing a group of schools, this award will recognise a board governing a multi academy trust or federation that has demonstrated effective governance and outstanding leadership to create positive outcomes in their school. Nominees must also detail how the governance structure of the group of schools has developed since its formation, and what lessons it has learned along the way.

  • Outstanding vision and strategy

Setting vision and strategy is a core function of the governing board, and this award recognises a board governing a single or group of schools that has an inspiring vision and is able to demonstrate how progress is being made towards achieving that vision with a clear strategy in place.

  • Outstanding clerk to a governing board

For over a decade, the Outstanding Governance Awards have recognised the importance of a professional clerk to the effectiveness of the governing board. This award will recognise a clerk who has shown outstanding practice and made a demonstrable impact on the work of the board.

People from across the education sector are being encouraged to nominate a governing board or clerk that merits celebration for the significant impact they have made on their school or group of schools. Whilst governing boards and clerks can self-nominate for an award, a third party such as their executive leader, a national leader of governance, or a governor support service can also nominate them.

The awards are open to all state funded schools in England including maintained schools, single academy trusts, free schools and schools within multi academy trusts and federations, and to all phases of schools. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a prestigious ceremony at the House of Commons in May 2019 where awards will be presented to the winners.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, said “Governing boards and clerks make a vast and valuable contribution to the education of young people so it is only right that they are celebrated for going above and beyond the core responsibilities of their role. We hope that governing boards and clerks will recognise their own achievements to put themselves forward, and that people from across the education sector will get involved in nominating those that deserve thanks. The Outstanding Governance Awards highlight the vital role that those governing and the clerks who support them play in making schools successful, and enable us to recognise and share the impact of just some of the quarter of a million people governing schools in England.”

The most recent awards, held in September 2017, saw twelve governing bodies and five clerks recognised as national finalists.

Entries to the awards can be submitted until 23.59 on 3 December 2018 using the nomination forms available at

Our media partner for these awards is Schools Week.

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