NGA response to House of Commons Education Select Committee report


School governors welcome MPs’ call for more support to help governing bodies raise their game   

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, responded to the publication of the Commons Education Select Committee report on The Role of School Governing Bodies: “Governors up and down the country will be pleased to see MPs are recognising their critical voluntary role in England’s schools and acknowledging that more should be done to ensure governing bodies and their clerks have the support and information they need.   We hope the Secretary of State for Education will listen to the Select Committee’s advice and ensure his Department is always correct when making statements on the responsibilities of governing bodies and headteachers.”

The NGA welcomes the publication of the Commons Education Select Committee report The Role of School Governing Bodies which chimes with many of the NGA’s views and evidence to the Committee.

The NGA particularly welcomes the Committee’s comments on training and the recommendation that schools should be required to offer training to all new governors. This would be an important development. NGA would like to see an expectation that governors will take up training. While Ofsted may provide a lever for encouraging governor training in some schools, it does not routinely inspect all schools and thus cannot make an impact on those schools.

We are pleased to see that the Committee agrees with our view that governors should not be paid, except in certain circumstances such as when governors deploy their skills to improve governance in other schools. We are of the opinion that ‘volunteer’ is not synonymous with ‘amateur’ and governors can do a professional job without being paid. We note that the Committee recommends that the government considers circumstances where paying governors may be appropriate, and look forward to contributing to this discussion.

We are delighted with the Committee’s acknowledgement of the importance of clerks to governors and its recommendation the DfE act upon our work with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE).  We note the Committee’s comments about the Governors’ Handbook and welcome its recommendation that the DfE should work with the NGA indeveloping more detailed guidance for clerks. We look forward to an early discussion with the DfE on developing a Guide to the Law for Clerks.

Finally, we are pleased to note that the Committee has recommended the DfE carry out further work on the effectiveness of federations and multi-academy trusts and in particular research the optimum size for such structures.  The NGA has recently carried out its own small scale research project on the barriers to and advantages of federated structures and is of the view that they can contribute to improving school performance.  

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Note to editors

1.  The National Governors’ Association is an independent charity representing school governors from both maintained schools and academies across England.  Our aim is to improve the well-being of children and young people by promoting high standards in all our schools, and improving the effectiveness of their governing bodies. We do this by providing information, training and advice to governors and ensuring the voices of governors are heard.