Government responds on the Role of School Governing Bodies


Today, the Government released its response to the House of Commons Education Select Committee inquiry on the Role of School Governing Bodies.

The Select Committee in July made 23 recommendations to the government in regards to Governance. The Government response states that:

  • the new DfE Governor Handbook sets out the roles and responsibilities of governors and information on legal requirements
  • they are keeping under review the decision to make the 2012 Constitution Regulations optional or whether they should instead force governing bodies to review their constitution.
  • that they have no plans to change the rules prohibiting the payment of governors, although Interim Executive Board (IEB) members can be paid
  • the Ofsted data dashboard is one tool for data and that governing bodies should be looking at more detailed information
  • LAs should be more willing to use their powers of intervention as too few IEBs were issued in the last year
  • by 2015 the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) will have funding to:
- designate up to 535 chairs as National Leaders of Governance (NLG);
- develop and roll out training to 2,000 clerks;
- expand the leadership development programme to reach over 6,500 chairs, vice-chairs and aspiring chairs;
- develop and publish training resources on the topics of understanding performance data, driving financial   efficiency in schools, and developing new performance related pay arrangements for teachers

Unsurprisingly, the NGA agrees that governance is incredibly important for ensuring that schools are the best that they can be, and that self-evaluation of governance should happen as a matter of course, not just when governance is identified as ‘requiring improvement’.

We were pleased that the Parliamentary under-secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, announced an increase of the budget of the NCTL to extend training of chairs and especially training for clerks at NGA’s Summer Conference.

Although the NGA was consulted on the DfE’s Governors Handbook, we made our opinion very clear from the start that it is not comprehensive enough for clerks to be able to advise governing bodies with, and lobbied the Government to update the Governors’ Guide to the Law and re-focus it as a Clerk’s Guide to the Law for Governing Bodies. 

However the government welcomed  our  ’work to identify and publish a first draft of a more detailed list of possible questions’:  this is our briefing ‘Knowing your School: Questions for governing bodies to ask’.

There was also mention of the fact that NGA is ‘considering piloting its own brokerage service between schools and clerk: anyone interested in being listed on this service, please contact Marty Uppal.

The government does not give a full answer to the Committee’s recommendation that “The Government should look at the optimum size of federation that can be governed effectively, and consider how local school autonomy can be retained in federated arrangements.”   This is however an issue NGA continues to discuss with the DfE and others, including at a meeting with Lord Nash last week.  If you have any views on this subject, do contact Philip Wood.

NGA’s written evidence to the Education Select Committee

Government response to the Education Select Committee report