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New report shows positive start to NLG programme


new evaluation report published today (12 November) details the successful first year of the reformed National Leaders of Governance (NLG) programme, delivered by the National Governance Association.

The external evaluation of the programme’s first year found it was successful in the recruitment, deployment and capacity of NLGs as well as the programme’s quality of delivery and process efficiency. The NLG programme offers targeted support to those schools and trusts where it will benefit most, providing governance expertise, external reviews of governance (ERGs) and bespoke support.

Stakeholders shared their support for the programme’s potential to have a positive impact on school and trust improvement through improving the quality of governance.

“We wouldn’t be where we are now without the NLG – this has really accelerated our plans for improvement” – Senior Leader

“We think it will be really valuable – as a governing body, you’ve got nothing to compare yourself against. If you have an expert telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing it’s really helpful. I wish I’d had one four years ago!” – Chair of Governing Board

“We are making huge changes – we have completely changed our model of governance and are putting the child at the top of the agenda.  We should be ready to go for 1st September” – Senior leader

77 experienced governors, trustees and governance professionals were recruited as NLGs through a “rigorous recruitment and assessment process”, exceeding the initial target of 50.  Senior leaders, trustees and governors and Commissioners were positive about the quality, rigour, and challenge provided by NLGs on a range of themes, including board composition, financial management and trust vision and growth.  

“So knowledgeable about governance, I had every respect for him and his views.” – Chair of Trust Board.

 “The NLG was excellently matched, and expertly delivered.  Very engaging, organised, detailed, challenging, open to discussion, transparent, sensitive” – Senior leader

The report also praised NGA’s rigorous quality assurance of the programme, the management of matching NLGs timely and effectively with schools and trusts, and the training and development for NLGs provided by NGA.

Read the report


Charlotte Harding and Noreen Graham, co-heads of the NLG programme,

“NGA and the NLG team are pleased to see that our hard work has been externally validated and are incredibly proud that the York report has confirmed that the reformed programme has had a very positive first year. We are looking forward to the next stage of delivery and evaluation to demonstrate further the impact the work of the new NLGs is having on trust and school governance.”


Barroness Barran, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Schools System,

“I was delighted to read that the governors, trustees and school leaders who were interviewed really valued the quality, rigour and challenge that NLG is providing. So, thank you to everyone here who's been involved in the programme should have shared your time and experience of effective governance. With those seeking support. The department and the NGA are looking at how we can take forward the evaluation’s findings, to ensure the reformed programme continues to have a positive impact.”


Emma Knights, Chief Executive, National Governance Association,

“The independent audit is extremely gratifying, both for NGA but also of course to the NLGs themselves. It's particularly heartening to read the experiences of senior leaders, governors and trustees who have been supported by NLGS this year and who are already seeing the improvements in their governance. We are all keen to be able to undertake more support where necessary and this option is increasingly possible, and look forward to seeing the full impact of the programme as it continues.”


Commission an external review

NGA has extensive experience of carrying out external reviews of governance for maintained school governing bodies, academy trust boards and other types of school and trust.

A review by an experienced NGA governance consultant provides an independent and objective view of your board’s strengths, along with clear recommendations for improvement.

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