NGA and Wellcome Trust launch Framework for Governance


Today the National Governors' Association and the Wellcome Trust are launching the Framework for Governance, an essential document for all governing boards to help them effectively carry out their vital role. It is a flexible guide, so can be used by any school regardless of phase, type or governance structure.

Strong school governance is arguably more important now than it has ever been – governing boards have more responsibility and are held accountable for the performance of the school more rigorously than ever before. The Framework for Governance aims to help governors and trustees successfully meet these challenges. It sets out how governors can evaluate their own practice, using the updated Twenty key questions for a governing board to ask itself; how to set the strategic direction for a school; and how to monitor progress against the strategy using high-level performance indicators that go much further than just exam results.

Lord Nash, schools minister with responsibility for school governance, welcomed the Framework, saying:Governing boards are crucial to the success of our schools. Setting strategic direction is one of their core functions, but recent research shows that many find this challenging. The Framework for Governance developed by the Wellcome Trust and the National Governors’ Association provides a powerful tool for helping boards formulate an ambitious strategy and monitor progress against it. Using the Framework will help boards maximise their effectiveness, and secure the best possible education for their pupils. Well informed, sector-led, guidance like this is exactly the sort of support governing bodies need.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “We support the Wellcome Trust and National Governors’ Association’s Framework for Governance. Successful schools routinely demonstrate an effective partnership between Head Teachers and the governing body. It’s vital that governors and school leaders work together effectively. Whilst ensuring that the Head Teacher is keeping the school on the right path, the governing body must also allow school leaders the latitude they need in matters of operational management. NAHT also welcomes all efforts to ensure that those people selected as governors have the skills, knowledge and attitude they need to perform in the best interests of the children at the school.”

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman said: “A successful partnership between school leadership teams and their governing bodies is extremely important and is a key requisite for all educational establishments. ASCL welcomes and supports this new framework and looks forward to working with the NGA and the Wellcome Trust with its implementation. Whilst it is important that school leaders are accountable to their governors, it is of equal importance that school leaders are given the autonomy to do their jobs and run their schools using their own professional judgement. We hope that this new Framework will enable this and in particular that it will help further ensure that those selected to occupy the role of governor, have the right skills and knowledge to undertake the role in a manner that would be in the best interests of the school.” 

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said: “Schools with strong governance do not fail; they have a strong ethos, vision for the future and a plan to improve the education of their pupils. Setting an effective school strategy is an incredibly important part of the governing board’s role. The Framework for Governance should help schools to do this well, and we urge all governing boards to use this free resource to develop their school’s strategy.  It is short, punchy and to the point. The Framework also includes the new and improved All Party Parliamentary Group for Governance and Leadership Twenty Questions, which enable governing boards to reflect on and improve their own practice. It should also help schools begin to monitor more of what we value, and not just what is easy to measure.” 

Hilary Leevers, head of Education and Learning at the Wellcome Trust, said: "We've enjoyed working with schools, colleges, their governors, and interested organisations, particularly the National Governors' Association, to develop the Framework for Governance. We believe that it will help governors to assess and improve their own practice and the educational outcomes of their schools and it includes fresh ideas for monitoring a wide range of these outcomes. We anticipate that the Framework will yield benefits to science education, through its general use, but especially when it is combined with more targeted tools, like Questions for Governors."

The Framework is available in the Guidance Centre, or alternatively download a pdf version of the Framework. NGA members will also be receiving a hard copy of the Framework with the next edition of Governing Matters.

For more information contact Ellie Howarth by emailing or phoning 01212 373780.