Release date: 24/10/2018

The Institute of Directors has today (24 October) released a report exploring the common challenges facing school governance and corporate governance.

In his introduction to the report, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP said “To ensure we rise to the challenge of raising standards even higher in our schools we need a range of diverse voices on governing and trust boards – voices which reflect the communities they serve and individuals with a wide range of skills and expertise.” The Secretary of State also asks directors to consider supporting school governance as “if you can get the best out of a team of high-flying executives, are able to challenge to get the information you need to do your role, then why not use those skills to help improve schools for our children?”

The report demonstrates the similarities between governance in schools and in the corporate sector, as well as some areas of difference where the sectors can learn from one another. In the ‘sixty second summary’ the report’s author Dr Roger Barker writes:

“In increasingly crucial areas for the private sector, such as the board’s oversight of corporate culture and the navigation of complex stakeholder relationships, [school governors] may offer perspectives and competencies which are still underdeveloped in their private sector peers.

“Although they may define organisational success in different ways, board members in the private and educational sectors face many similar governance challenges. In particular, they both have to forge robust but constructive relationships with the executive leadership of their organisations. And both must be creative in terms of gaining access to smart information that will enable them to ask the right questions and make informed decisions.

“This paper examines some of the common challenges facing boards in business and education, and identifies some common solutions. It is our conviction that, as the two way flow of board members between the two sectors increases, the competence of boards and individual directors will also increase - as they mutually benefit from diverse but complementary skillsets, and tap into as yet underexploited pools of talent.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, said: “With over three-quarters of employed school governors and trustees saying that they have gained skills through governing that are valuable in their professional life, volunteering as a school governor is a beneficial opportunity for employers, individuals and schools alike. Exploring how governance works cross-sector is very important, and this report identifies some of the ways in which the worlds of school governance and corporate governance can both learn from and contribute to each other. I would encourage directors to read this report to understand how skills and experience from the corporate world can be used to offer much-needed support to schools, and urge them to support their employees to govern though Inspiring Governance.”

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