Model Code of Conduct - 2018

Code of Conduct 2018 - word version 

The National Governance Association has for a number of years recommended that governing boards adopt a code of conduct which sets out the purpose of the governing body and describes the appropriate relationship between individual governors/trustees/academy committee members, the whole governing board and the executive leaders. We recommend that the code should be thoroughly discussed so that the whole governing board has ownership of it, and, once it has been adopted, the governors/trustees/academy committee members should be asked to review and agree it, on an annual basis ideally at the first meeting in the autumn term.

The NGA model has been updated for the 2018/19 academic year. You can download this today but do remember to tailor it to reflect your specific governing board and school structure.

Changes for 2018 -the code of conduct only recently went through a full review, the update over the summer was minimal, with a change of date and a few minor tweaks. Remember, it is good practice to review your code of conduct collectively as a board each year. 


Unlike previous versions we have not produced separate codes for academies and maintained schools, but instead focused on one code that can be used and easily tailored in any school governance setting to be adopted by all.

The NGA model code of conduct is anchored in the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life:

(Originally published by the Nolan Committee: The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations).

Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Honesty - Holders of public office should be truthful.
Leadership - Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

If you have any comments or questions on the Code, please send them to

Download the Code of Conduct - Word