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Top priorities for the new term

As the autumn term gets underway, we explore topics that governing boards should be paying particular attention to. NGA is here to help with guidance, training, events and more to help you stay up to speed.


Estates management

The declining condition of school buildings has been brought sharply into focus this week. All governing boards need to be alert to the potential risks posed by Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and their wider responsibilities to ensure a safe and healthy environment for pupils.

Read our RAAC advice for boards and sign up for our upcoming webinar to learn how governing boards in all types of schools and trusts meet their responsibilities to ensure estates are well-managed.


Changes to statutory guidance

  •  Safeguarding

The latest version of Keeping Children Safe in Education came into force on 1 September, containing updates across IT monitoring, safer recruitment and cyber security school premises rental. Read our guidance to learn more about these changes and complete our safeguarding e-learning module to ensure your board has the required safeguarding training.

  • Suspensions and exclusions

Statutory guidance on suspension and exclusion has also been updated to include important changes to remote meeting arrangements. Our procedural guide explains the changes, setting out each stage of the exclusion/suspension process and will be of particular interest to those clerking exclusion panels.

Learning Link subscribers can access updated e-learning on minimising exclusions, which covers an example exclusion case, implementation of the behaviour policy and the latest thinking on permanent exclusions.

  • Academy Trust Handbook

All trustees need to be familiar with the Academy Trust Handbook as they are accountable for ensuring their trust complies with it. Read our summary of 2023 handbook updates and advice on how to make the best use of the handbook throughout the year.

  • "All governing boards should adopt a code of conduct to explain the behaviour and professional standards required."

    Essential board business

    • Code of conduct

    All governing boards should adopt a code of conduct to explain the behaviour and professional standards required. The first meeting of the academic year is a good time to review and approve your code of conduct – the NGA model code (available for academy trusts and maintained schools) can be adapted to reflect your specific context.

    • Skills and diversity

    Completing the NGA skills audit is a well-established practice for most boards at this time of year. However, evaluating board diversity is not yet routine for all boards, despite the Department for Education's (DfE) encouragement.

    NGA’s diversity indicators form helps boards to gather relevant data on their membership (while maintaining confidentiality) and use this as a basis for meaningful discussion and action.

    • Effective delegation

    Academy trusts should review their scheme of delegation annually and all those involved in trust governance (particularly the local tier) should be made aware of any changes and what this means in practice. Our schemes of delegation guidance describe the elements of an effective scheme and provides examples and resources to help trusts review their own.

    Similarly, many maintained school governing bodies use a delegation planner to ensure the board, committees and the headteacher are clear about where responsibility for governance functions lies.

    Committee terms of reference provide the necessary detail on each committee’s delegated responsibilities. NGA’s collection of example terms of reference now covers local academy committees.

    • Governance planning

    Our policy review schedule and annual governance planner, both available for maintained and trust contexts, will help boards plan their agendas for 2023-24.

    We all recognise the essential role that governance professionals play in planning and supporting governing board business throughout the year. Visit our page for governance professionals to find more tailored resources and development opportunities.

    NGA membership

    Join us to access member-only governance resources

    Ella Colly
    Ella Colley

    Head of Content

    As Head of Content, Ella takes the lead on coordinating content development across the organisation. She also oversees NGA’s Knowledge Centre, ensuring members can find information and guidance on a range of governance topics.

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