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The Wellcome Trust is piloting a new code of governance that aims to improve how school governing bodies work. ‘A Recommended Code of Governance for Schools’ offers governors a concise, flexible framework to help them set strategic direction, evaluate their own performance and hold the headteacher and other senior leaders to account.
The 'Recommended Code' was developed in collaboration with the National Governors' Association, the National College of School Leadership, Ofsted and the Department for Education. It draws on the UK Corporate Governance Code and the Statement of Recommended Practice for charities. It is not intended to be an alternative to the NGA's model Code of Practice, but aims to facilitate further development of the existing Code of Practice.
The Wellcome Trust is running a two-year pilot study, which began in November 2012, to test the effectiveness of the code. A group of 21 pilot schools - including primary, secondary and special schools and academies - were given advance access to the code. The way in which they use it will be independently evaluated over the course of the study.
The importance of good school governance is being increasingly recognised. Ofsted has recently announced that it will increase its focus on governance by instructing all schools categorised as 'requiring improvement' to conduct an external review of how leadership and governance may be improved. The Wellcome Trust hopes the 'Recommended Code' will be a useful tool for schools in this position.
Sir John Holman, Senior Fellow for Education at the Wellcome Trust, said "The Wellcome Trust is keen to support schools in this way because we believe that good governance is an essential prerequisite to good science education - and indeed any kind of education."
See also the report of Sir John Holman's speech at NGA's 2013 annual conference.