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Governing board roles

School governance in 2021

Reports setting out the findings of the 2021 NGA annual governance survey.

connecting the dots vision

NGA has been running a survey of school governors and trustees since 2011. The aim of the survey is to gather the views of those who govern in order to inform and shape education policy and, in the absence of official data, to provide an overview of the state of school governance in England. The findings from the 2021 survey are shared in three reports.

Governance volunteers and board practice

This report explores the characteristics of governors and trustees, their experiences of governing in practice and stakeholder engagement.

Read the report to find out more about:

  • Characteristics and recruitment of governors and trustees
  • Manageability of the role and retention of volunteers
  • Induction and experience of inclusion
  • Reviews of board practice and effectiveness
  • Recruitment, responsibilities and appraisal of governance professionals
  • Methods used by boards to engage with stakeholders 

Priorities, resources and people

This report explores the views and experiences of governors and trustees in relation to the board’s core functions. It examines the findings by school phase, type and region to identify long-term and emerging trends. Read the report to find out about:

  • The strategic priorities of boards
  • How boards are supporting disadvantaged pupils
  • The current and long-term financial picture of schools and trusts
  • How boards are overseeing staffing in their organisation
  • Views on accountability

Governance volunteers and board practice

This report explores the recruitment challenges, composition and practices of all school governance volunteers.

Read the report to learn about:

  • size of boards
  • Vacancies and recruitment 
  • demographics and composition of boards
  • routes into governance
  • Who governs
  • board leadership
  • Addressing diversity
Survey methodology

The NGA annual school and trust governance survey is the largest survey of its kind and provides an extensive overview of the governance of state funded schools in England. The survey provides unrivalled insight on the demographic, views and experiences of one of England’s largest volunteer forces. It was open to all school governors, trustees and academy committee members between 6 May and 11 June 2021. In total, 3,848 respondents engaged with the survey.

Read the full methodology
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