Governor Handbook released

14/05/2013

The Department for Education (DfE) has today released their new Governor Handbook. The Handbook is the successor to the Governors' Guide to the Law, which will not be updated.

You can find the new Handbook on the DfE website.

Emma Knights, the chief executive of NGA said: 

"The DfE has missed an opportunity to produce a handbook for governors which will really make a difference to the business of governance.  The first section is a useful introduction for new governors outlining their strategic role and the ways in which governors get to know their schools.  There is however little for the more experienced governing bodies on the most effective governance practice." 
 
The National Governors’ Association (NGA) was particularly pleased to see the DfE confirm that:

“While it may be helpful to see classes at work, governors are not inspectors and it is not their role to assess the quality or method of teaching.  They are not  school managers and should make sure they do not interfere in the day-to-day running of the school.  Both are the role of the headteacher”.

The Government is encouraging governors to “focus on three core strategic functions:
  1. Setting vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding headteachers to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.”
 
NGA supports this, and believes the vast majority of governing bodies do know these are their priorities.    
 
The majority of this Handbook is a summarised version of the former Governors’ Guide to the Law and NGA would have preferred to have seen that guide updated and targeted at clerks to governing bodies, who are their legal advisers. Governors need to be able to rely on  good legal advice from clerks rather than spending their time reading regulations, whereas their clerks do need to be fully familiar with the detail in the relevant legislation.

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