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NGA publishes new resources to tackle volunteer recruitment challenge


The National Governance Association has today (11 November) published new resources to support governing boards to recruit and retain volunteers.

The new edition of the popular ‘the right people around the table’ guide provides practical advice to help ensure that boards have the right blend of knowledge, skills, perspectives, and backgrounds to govern effectively. It covers key areas to consider as part of the recruitment process, including evaluating the current board and attracting volunteers to making an appointment and induction training. It also includes advice on targeting those from underrepresented groups.

Findings from the 2022 annual governance survey shows that schools and trusts in England are facing major challenges in recruiting governance volunteers. Two thirds of respondents (63%) reported that they faced issues compared to 55 per cent in 2019, Overall, NGA estimates there are currently more than 20,000 vacancies with more boards having two vacancies than

Approaching local employers is one avenue boards are encouraged to try to recruit volunteers. NGA has also published a new resource for employers on governance. The information sheet is designed to engage more employers with school and trust governance, so that they in turn encourage more people to volunteer and support them to do so. It introduces the role of governors and trustees, the benefits to staff of governing and tips on how to support their staff to take on and develop in this important role.

As part of NGA’s Visible Governance campaign, NGA will also be working to celebrate employers who support their staff to govern and encourage governors and trustees to champion the role with their employers.

Nina Sharma, senior policy and research officer, National Governance Association,

“Having the right people around the table means that a governing board has people with an array of voices, views, knowledge, and skills. This updated guide uses success stories that NGA has heard first hand, offering perspectives and tips that boards may not have considered before. As we see governing board vacancies at their highest and diversity on boards continuing to be a huge challenge, amending recruitment practices to find the right people for your board could not more important.”


Emma Knights, chief executive, National Governance Association,

“Outside London we have a shortage of new volunteers to govern schools and academy trusts and that shortage is growing. Given the importance of governance and of education this needs to be recognised as a real concern. The public do not have much awareness of the opportunity to volunteer and this must be rectified. To increase the visibility of the role, NGA has produced an animation to help explain the opportunity, and today we are calling on more employers to be part of the solution by encouraging and supporting their staff to volunteer to make a difference to the lives of pupils.”


Baroness Barran, parliamentary under-secretary for the schools system,

“I am pleased to support NGA’s Visible Governance campaign. Governing boards and governance support has an important role in our school system and this campaign recognises the contribution of over 250,000 volunteer governors and trustees and their governance professionals and clerks. Robust and effective governance is central to overseeing the strategic direction of a school or trust and has a key role in improving and raising standards for children and young people with the aim of delivering excellent outcomes.”


Robert West, Head of Education and Skills at the Confederation of British Industry,

“School governing boards play a vital role in their local communities and offer a diversity of perspectives to school leaders. The CBI supports highlighting the benefits of governance for employee development and shining a spotlight on those offering their time and business expertise to support schools.”


Dominic Judge, director of Inspiring Governance

“So important to see this re-launch of the NGA’s recruitment guide. It’s critical that governing boards continue to both think strategically, and recruit methodically, to bring in the right skills and perspectives to effectively support and challenge schools. Independent governor recruitment services like Inspiring Governance will continue to be an important part of schools’ options as they seek to develop and diversify their boards”

Hannah Stolton, chief executive, Governors for Schools,

“For a board to function well, it’s essential to have the right people around the table. We know that with a variety of skills, perspectives and experiences, boards function at their best. When recruiting new governors it’s vital that volunteers understand the role, the required level of commitment and can draw on their skills and experience, whatever they may be. Governors for Schools encourages all schools to use the resources available to them to engage with volunteers. This guide by the NGA is an excellent starting point to support your journey.”

For more information on the recruitment challenges facing governing boards, read Emma Knights’ recent blog. Find out more about NGA’s work to raise awareness of the role of school and trust governance on our Visible Governance campaign page.