Release date: 10/09/2021

23 governing boards and governance professionals have been recognised for their exceptional practice and impact on children and young people at the National Governance Association’s (NGA) Outstanding Governance Awards. The biennial awards, which showcase the best of school and trust governance, took place at the House of Commons on 9 September.

This was a bumper year with nominations across the six categories increasing by over 50% compared to the 2019 awards.


Outstanding clerk to a governing board

  • WINNER Sarah Steven – The Galaxy Trust, Kent
  • HIGHLY COMMENDED Lesley Hardwick – The Education People Clerking Service, schools in Kent
  • FINALIST Beth Yap – Frontier Learning Trust, London
  • FINALIST Kate Williams – South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust, Cornwall

Outstanding lead governance professional

  • WINNER Carina Sawyer – Magna Learning Partnership, Wiltshire
  • HIGHLY COMMENDED Becky Poynter – Unity Schools Partnership, East of England and East London
  • FINALIST Ann Adams – Support Services for Education, Somerset
  • FINALIST Karen Froggatt – Wellspring Academy Trust, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Outstanding vision and strategy

  • WINNER Learn Academies Trust, Leicestershire
  • WINNER Riccall Community Primary School, North Yorkshire
  • FINALIST Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust, Teesside and North Yorkshire
  • FINALIST Wellspring Academy Trust, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Outstanding governance in a single school

  • WINNER Cleeve School, Gloucestershire
  • HIGHLY COMMENDED Pathways Learning Centre, South Gloucestershire
  • FINALIST Snaith Primary School, East Riding of Yorkshire
  • FINALIST Caroline Haslett Primary School, Milton Keynes

Outstanding governance in a multi academy trust

  • WINNER Anglian Learning, East of England
  • WINNER STEP Academy Trust, South London and East Sussex
  • FINALIST Nexus MAT, Yorkshire
  • FINALIST Northern Star Academies Trust, North and West Yorkshire
  • FINALIST Unity Schools Partnership, East of England and East London

Outstanding governance in a federation

  • WINNER Castle Church of England Federation, Hertfordshire
  • WINNER Islington Futures Federation, London

Download a copy of the awards programme.

Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, speaking before the awards were presented, said “I am honoured to have been asked to present these awards. They recognise both the excellent contributions that each of you are making and the importance of working together as a team. That collective endeavour ensures that children are receiving the best education possible, giving them the best start in life. Governance has never been more critical to the education of our nation’s young people. As the Minister responsible for governance, I see at first hand the impact of governors and governance professionals. You are driving relentless ambition for the young people served by our schools system, whatever the circumstances. I would like to convey my deepest gratitude to you today, and to the many thousands of governors, trustees, governance professionals and clerks across the country, for your work in schools and the way you have responded to the pandemic.  You have pulled together to deliver the best for our children and young people.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of NGA said “Congratulations to our winners and finalists on their achievement. The commitment and contribution of those governing our schools and trusts is often overlooked, their hard work usually carried out behind closed doors. NGA’s Outstanding Governance Awards offer an opportunity to celebrate the very best in school and trust governance practice. Sharing these stories of excellence and best practice are vital to avoid the sector just talking about governance when things go wrong; they help underline that governance truly contributes to the success and sustainability of our schools and the educational achievement and wellbeing of children and young people.”

Search for #NGAawards on Twitter to see live coverage and reaction from the awards. Our media partner Schools Week will also report on the event.

Sharing examples of good governance practice is one of the key impacts of the awards and many of the finalists will be telling other governors, trustees and governance professionals about their achievements and experiences in future editions of Governing Matters and at our events.

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