Why a Framework for Governance?

A governing board has three core functions for its school, as set out in the 2014 Department for Education’s Governors’ Handbook:
  • setting the strategic direction
  • holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school
  • ensuring financial health, probity and value for money.
These core functions are consistent with the criteria that Ofsted will use to judge the governing board (for more detail see the Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, July 2014, pages 47–48). Strong governance is a key part of a successful school. However, schools are beset by so many regulations and reporting requirements that it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. To help school governors and senior leaders take a broader and longer-term perspective, we have developed this Framework for Governance. The aim is to give governors and senior leaders a robust framework that they can use to set the strategic direction for their school and monitor progress against the strategic vision.


The three elements of the Framework

The Framework is designed to reflect the cyclical nature of the governing board’s work. The element that should be started with will depend on what level of development the governing board is at and where it is in the annual cycle. The Framework is intended to be flexible enough to allow schools to exercise autonomy, yet robust enough to enable governors to hold senior leaders to account. Over the past few years governance has evolved as the education landscape has become increasingly complex, and there now exists a diverse range of governance structures. For example, multi-academy trusts (MATs) often have two levels of governance, comprising boards of trustees and local governing bodies, with each having different responsibilities. In addition, governing boards of MATs and local authority maintained federations will govern multiple schools. These governing boards in particular may need to adapt the Framework to accommodate their own situation.

Published: 10/01/2017, by Sam Henson
Last Updated: 10/01/2017, by Sam Henson