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Governing board roles

Governing our schools: 10 years on

Evaluating governance expert interviews from 2018 to 2019 in comparison to research conducted in 2008


This research from Education and Employers (which delivers the Inspiring Governance service) compares the findings of nineteen governance expert interviews from 2018/19 with detailed research conducted in 2008. 

Research overview

Topics covered in the report include governance composition, recruitment and recognition, working with employers, technology and accountability.

Governing boards looking to recruit new volunteers will be particularly interested in the report’s recommendations (pages 8-10), which include reference to models of governance which “better blends skills with representation”, more emphasis on technology in meetings, “professional and strategic” approaches to succession planning and innovative approaches to training and induction.

Key findings

  1. Governors and trustees are more informed and knowledgeable about their role, but the role has not been simplified, particularly due to the new model of MAT governance.
  2. Interviewees were in favour of achieving a balance of skills and community representation on boards, referred to in the report as the “stakeholder plus” model.
  3. The majority of interviewees favoured making induction training mandatory, echoing the consistent findings of NGA’s School Governance in 2019 report.
  4. Changes to school funding over the past ten years have negatively impacted school governance with agreement that it is more difficult for governors/trustees to balance the budget without making difficult decisions.
  5. Ofsted has placed more emphasis on governing boards during inspection, but interviewees felt inspectors do not adequately understand the role of governors/ trustees.
  • "...the report concludes that the different roles and responsibilities of governors and trustees are now much clearer. Governors and trustees...have a heightened sense of responsibility and are more focused on school strategy than they were ten years ago. This is progress."

    Emma Knights OBE

    Emma Knights, NGA Chief Executive

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