Are you working (or intending to work) collaboratively with other boards?

Using our peer reviews, you can engage in efficient knowledge sharing across multiple boards, whilst ensuring board development and network building.

These reviews are designed to improve the effectiveness of your boards, thus improving outcomes for children and young people.

What are the benefits of a peer review?

  • Improve the effectiveness of your board
  • Supporting the governing board in its own development 
  • Developing reflective practice  
  • Facilitated knowledge and learning transfer 
  • Building networks and collaborative capital 

How does it work?

A peer review is a process agreed amongst boards whereby all participants agree to review each other’s practice in a positive, professional and confidential manner.  It is  a process used by a range of organisations and can be a powerful driver for improvement.  Typically a number of governing boards (usually three) agree to work together carrying out an appreciative enquiry into each other’s governance practice, learning from the experience, and sharing knowledge and expertise along the way.

The methodology for the review will depend on the types of schools and issues that they are facing.  In general the review includes:

  • Each board undertakes an online board appraisal 
  • All board members attend a facilitated introductory session which covers the principles of effective governance, the protocols and practical arrangements for the review and determines next steps 
  • Semi structured phone calls with the NGA consultant on the focus for each board’s review, possible lines of enquiry, and expected outcomes  
  • Representatives from each board work with the other boards on an area the online appraisal has identified could be improved 
  • A facilitated feedback session where outcomes are shared, action plans worked on and next steps are agreed 
  • Evaluation takes place, usually after two terms, with the NGA consultant 
Principles and protocols of the peer review process
  • The spirit of peer review is to be positive, objective and professional, promoting open and transparent dialogue between colleagues.    
  • The notion of the appreciative enquiry approach is that it is not a deficit analysis.  It seeks out stories of success rather than focusing on what’s going wrong. There is evidence from a number of different fields to show that a focus on positive reinforcement can have real and lasting effects.
  • There is no scoring and extensive judgements are not being made.
  • The focus of the challenge needs to be properly challenging to ensure development.
  • This is an opportunity for sharing identified strengths and areas for further consideration.  
  • There must be mutual trust, keeping the content of the peer challenge confidential to those involved unless wider dissemination is agreed by all parties.  

Who should take part?

Peer review involves working together with other governing boards and so is particularly suited to governing boards which are working – or intending to work – collaboratively.   It is not suitable for schools in special measures, or for schools which are in competition with each other. 

What is the role of the NGA?

The consultant will:

  • Administer the online board appraisal
  • Facilitate the face to face session
  • Work with the chairs to ensure that the review focuses on improving governance
  • Conduct an end of process evaluation 

How to book a peer review 


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