The Chair's Handbook: 7th edition

A guide for chairs of governing boards of schools and academy trusts.

The 7th edition of our best-selling guide The Chair’s Handbook is now available to purchase.

The Chair's Handbook 6th edition 2017 - 2018

The Chair’s Handbook is NGA's essential guide for chairs and aspiring chairs of governing boards, and a valuable resource for current and new chairs alike. This guide draws on practice from across a range of sectors and applies to governing boards of all schools and trusts, from the smallest to the biggest. 

Sections with significant updates in this new edition include those on ethical leadership, organisational culture, building the relationship with the senior executive, and the chair’s role with Ofsted. The handbook also includes tips for making the role of chair manageable, such as working well with the vice chair and the possibility of having co-chairs.

As well as a basic introduction, this guide will help you develop your team of governors or trustees, work effectively with the headteacher and senior management team, lead the school toward improvement and manage the strategic business of the board. Seven packed chapters explore the challenges of being the chair and:

  • Leading governance in schools
  • Becoming the chair
  • Leading and developing the team
  • The chair, the headteacher and accountability
  • Leading school improvement
  • Leading governing board business
  • Leaving the chair and succession planning 

Who is this guide for?

Quite simply, if you’re a chair or vice chair this guide is essential reading. If you're a committee chair or thinking about becoming a chair you'll find in this guide everything you need to improve your knowledge about the role.

“It is vital that chairs understand their role and the unique influence they have to shape the way in which their board governs in the best interests of every child. We need chairs who can lead their boards and schools confidently into the future of our increasingly autonomous and school-led system, including through the process of converting to academy status and forming multi-academy trusts. NGA's guide is a helpful resource for both current and prospective chairs.”
Lord Nash, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools

"Chairing a school governing board is a significant, complex and often demanding responsibility, but with it I hope will come the satisfaction of a job well done and of having made a difference to the lives of the pupils in the school. There are times when difficult decisions have to be made by the governing board for the good of the school and when the job of chair will be extremely challenging. New chairs will find this guide to be a very valuable resource when starting out, but more experienced chairs should turn to it at more difficult moments. So welcome to what may well be one of the most important publications that you will read in your life as a school governor."
Ian Courtney MBE, trustee of the National Governance Association

  • Members: £6 per copy
  • Non-members: £12 per copy (if you're not a currently a member but you'd like to be, find out more about our membership options)
  • If your school is a GOLD member, you will receive a free copy when you join NGA. 
Purchase your copy 
  • Buy online
  • Call 0121 237 3780 option 6
  • For bulk discounts (over 15 copies) please call the office on 0121 237 3780 option 6, or email the membership team