Release date: 21/11/2016

Inspiring Governance, an innovative, free, online match-making service launches nationwide today.


Inspiring Governance connects schools and colleges with skilled volunteers interested in serving as governors and trustees and provides support, advice and guidance to ensure that volunteers newly appointed to boards are able to govern effectively right from the outset. 

The service, which launches today, is an innovative, free, online match-making service that allows individuals to register their skills and boards to find governors no matter where they are in the country.

NGA’s recently published annual survey found that 61% of governing boards (regional figures below) had difficulty attracting new recruits to serve as governors and trustees. The survey, conducted by the National Governors’ Association and TES, highlights the increased importance of school governors and trustees in the education system and the challenges that come with recruiting new volunteers. 

Governors are one of largest volunteer forces in the country and play a vital role in raising and maintaining educational standards. They set the vision, ethos and strategic direction of their organisation; hold head teachers, executive leaders and senior management teams to account for educational performance; and make sure that finances are managed effectively. Good governance is a fundamental characteristic of high-performing schools. 

The new Inspiring Governance service provides free expert bespoke support for volunteers and governing boards as well as for employers wanting to run governance volunteering programmes for their staff. As part of the service the National Governors’ Association is providing free support and expert advice for newly appointed governors/trustees via a dedicated helpline, induction materials and online guidance.  The NGA is also providing governing boards with free help and advice on the recruitment of chairs.

Over 3,000 volunteers have already signed up online and recruiting boards can search quickly and easily for the skills and experience they need. Hands on support is also available where it is not possible to make matches online.

Inspiring Governance is run by the charity Education and Employers in partnership with the National Governors’ Association working closely with Academy Ambassadors, the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers and other key partners. It is funded by the Department for Education until 2020 and powered by the Inspiring the Future technology platform.

Lord Nash, Under Secretary of State for Schools, said: “It’s more important than ever to give our young people the opportunities they deserve. This means building and supporting better school governing boards across England. As the people who appoint head teachers and chief executives and hold them to account, governors and trustees should be the driving force behind school improvement so it’s essential that we do more to attract talented and committed volunteers to school governance. That’s why we are supporting Education and Employers and the National Governors’ Association to revolutionise the way people can get involved in governance and be supported in the role once they’re in place.”

Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of charity Education and Employers, said: “We know that schools and colleges find it hard to find governors and trustees. The new Inspiring Governance service makes it really easy for people to express an interest in volunteering via a simple on-line form. Governing boards can then look at the profiles of volunteers who have signed up in their area and get in touch with them directly.”

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, said: “School governance is very challenging but also extremely rewarding. It’s for people who want to use their skills to make a positive difference to the lives of children. It’s for people who want to achieve something in public life. It’s for people who want to make life better for their community. Being a governor or trustee is not about doing a “good day’s work” but about making an impact over a number of years. It’s not for everyone and yet over 300,000 people do it every single day. Please join us today at:”

Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of ASCL, said: “The quality of governors and trustees has a significant influence on schools and the achievements of children and young people. Every school, in every part of the country, deserves to have a high-quality governing board, ready to both support school leaders and hold them to account. Inspiring Governance helps governing boards to find skilled volunteers and then provides guidance once they’re in post. ASCL is committed to supporting this programme in the effort to ensure every school has a great governing board.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of school leaders' union NAHT said: "Schools need highly skilled and highly motivated governors in order to succeed. This new scheme is very welcome as it's a clear and straightforward tool that everyone concerned with the important business of recruiting governors can use. Governors are volunteers, but their role is vital. NAHT will promote this new service to our members as part of our ongoing work to strengthen school governance across the country."

Jennifer Taylor, COO, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said: “As a major employer we believe we it is our duty to support education and one of the ways we do this is by encouraging and supporting our staff as governors and trustees. The new Inspiring Governance service makes it really easy for us and provides support from people who undertake this vital role” (TBC) 

Neil Carberry, Director for People and Skills CBI said: “There’s no better or more strategic way for business to support and influence the education system and our future workforce than through school governance. All the evidence and the experience of an increasing number of businesses is that it also delivers significant benefit to employees and their employer through the strategic board level skills they develop and bring back into the workplace.”

Key benefits of the new service include:

  • Free, secure service to all – volunteers, schools and employers
  • A matching service for schools and colleges looking for governors and trustees
  • A bespoke recruitment service for governing bodies to find chairs
  • Clerks, diocesan boards, school business managers and local authorities can also use the service for multiple schools.  
  • Quick search for volunteers based on skills and geography 
  • Regional targeting in areas of the country where schools struggle to find new governors
  • Support for new governors including induction and training materials
  • Support and advice for volunteers and governing boards
  • Help for employers on how best to support their staff serving as governors
  • Expert and personalised advice and guidance from the National Governors’ Association
  • A dedicated telephone and e-mail support line
  • Access to the NGA’s on-line resources

Visit the website for more information.

The launch will be held at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 2 King Edwards Street, London EC1A 1HQ on Monday 21 November.


Notes to editors:

2.       To arrange a radio or TV interview with Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of the Education and Employers please contact Victoria Constantinides 020 75664 887

3.       To arrange a radio or TV interview with Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, email (9-5) or call Judith Hicks on 07766491655 (thereafter)

4.       The Education and Employers Taskforce charity was launched in 2009 with the aim of ensuring that every school and college has an effective partnership with employers to provide its young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential and so to secure the UK’s future prosperity. The charity works to achieve this by working in close partnership with leading national bodies representing schools, colleges and employers.

5.       The National Governors’ Association (NGA) is an independent charity representing and supporting governors, trustees and clerks in maintained schools and academies in England. The NGA’s goal is to improve the wellbeing of children and young people by increasing the effectiveness of governing boards and promoting high standards. It does this by providing information, advice, guidance, research and training. It also works closely with, and lobbies, UK government and educational bodies, and is the campaigning national membership organisation for school governors and trustees.

6.       Inspiring Governance is funded until 2020 by the Department for Education. It aims to celebrate the valuable work of school governors and trustees and to encourage:

  • more governing boards to recruit and develop governors and trustees with relevant skills and experience;
  • more skilled and experienced individuals to volunteer as school governors and trustees; and
  • more employers to support their staff to volunteer as governors and trustees.

7. Regional Figures:

Question: We find it difficult to recruit governors/trustees to the governing board:



West Midlands


South West

South East

North West


North East


East of England


East Midlands


Strongly agree or agree










8. Inspiring Governance started life as the Inspiring Governors Alliance in 2014 which was convened by the charity Education and Employers and overseen by a small steering committee, comprising of the NGA, CBI, NCOGS, Department for Education, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and others.

9.       Photographs will be available after the launch.

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