Release date: 09/10/2020

Governing boards and executive leaders are encouraged work together to set and monitor a strategy for their organisation in updated guidance from the National Governance Association, the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

Being Strategic’ – an update of NGA’s popular existing guide – supports executive leaders and governing boards to think strategically about what is important for their pupils and how a positive culture drives the strategy, emphasising that “the choice of what to measure should be guided by values and vision”.   

The guidance is centred in the first core function of governance: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. It describes how mission, values, vision and culture relate to strategy and why it is important for governing boards to be aware of the culture and climate in their school or trust.

It provides a robust framework for creating, monitoring and reviewing a strategy for the organisation within an annual cycle and includes questions that boards and executive leaders can consider together along with examples of high-level strategy outcomes.

Read 'Being strategic'

Steve Edmonds, director of advice and guidance at the National Governance Association said “Even in the best times being strategic is too easily squeezed to the margins by results, league tables and what Ofsted expects. Now we have an opportunity to use the power and influence we have as school leaders, governors and trustees to do things differently, to think strategically about what is important for our pupils and how we influence the culture in our schools and trusts. Our updated guide to being strategic aims to influence the thinking and conversation between governing boards and leadership teams that create the vision and strategy. If we do this our results will improve, pupils and staff regardless of their backgrounds will flourish and our leadership will reach reassuringly to the communities that we serve.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “A healthy collaborative and thoughtful working relationship between the governing board of a school and its senior leadership team is absolutely crucial to its success. Done well, this partnership drives ambition, innovation and progress, to get schools to the best they can be. The updated guidance in this Being Strategic document is a great way forward for governors and school leaders to improve the planning and outcomes for their school.”

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