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Governance professionals: 2021 and beyond

This report explores the evolution of governance professional roles, the career landscape and opportunities to support the profession.


Governance professionals are paid to provide administrative and advisory support to governing boards and, depending on their roles and the governance structures served, act as the strategic lead for wider governance support provided by clerks. They make an invaluable contribution to board efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and compliance. They also have a crucial role in promoting the culture that ensures good governance in schools and trusts.

Research overview

This report draws on a survey of over 1,200 governance professionals, covering the following areas: 

  • routes into the profession 
  • motivations for joining the profession 
  • job titles  
  • pay  
  • levels of confidence and satisfaction  
  • qualifications  
  • training development and appraisals  

The findings of the report have contributed to NGA’s work on a career pathway for governance professionals to raise the profile of governance professionals and provide an important context on the evolution of governance professional roles.

Key findings

  • There is a single governance profession working across schools and trusts, within which there
    are different roles requiring different knowledge, with many individuals having experience of
    serving both maintained schools and academy trusts.
  • Governance professionals are undervalued because their critical and valuable role is not well
    understood by the sector.
  • The governance profession requires a career framework linked to clear expectations, relevant
    qualifications and remuneration.
  • Governing boards have been slow to implement the Clerking Matters expectations which has
    had a detrimental effect on advancing pay to appropriate levels and ensuring CPD is rewarded.
  • “Anything that can elevate the status of the role would be good. It is hugely underestimated just how much knowledge and skills are required.”

    Governance professional and research participant

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