Release date: 21/07/2017

As we reach the end of the academic year, NGA  would like to wish all governors and trustees a happy and relaxing summer break. During 2016/17, NGA has been busy writing new guidance and updating existing content to promote outstanding governance across the sector. In case you missed anything, here is a snapshot of what the team has been up to. You’ll need to be a member to access some of this, so if you’re not a member yet (why ever not?), please do join us in 2017/18.


Publications - Schools can be (or be part of) complex organisations these days but NGA remains ahead of  the curve when it comes to how to govern them and providing high-quality practical information for new and experienced governors, trustees and senior leaders. Hot off the press is the sixth edition of the Chair’s Handbook; we also published the ninth edition of an NGA classic – Welcome to Governance, as well as an all-new pioneering guide called Welcome to a Multi Academy Trust . You can see our exciting range of publications on the NGA publications page



 Skills audit 2017 – NGA published a brand new version of its much used skills audit tool, following the release of the DfE’s new Competency Framework for Governance, structured around the DfE’s newly identified “six features of Effective Governance”. The new skills audit, also structured around the six features, comes in two models to take account of the significant differences of governing as a MAT trustee compared to governing as a maintained school governor, trustee of a single academy trust or academy committee member



What do we expect of each other?  - NGA again collaborated with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Local Government Association (LGA) to produce a new edition of this popular guidance document. This joint guidance aims to improve the effectiveness of governance by developing effective, mutually supportive and respectful working practices.




The autumn term saw the release of the extended guidance, published jointly with ASCL and Browne Jacobson: Staying in Control of your School’s Destiny. Part 1 looks at the benefits of collaboration and the differences between federations and MATs. Part two is designed to help assess what MAT is right for you if you have made the decision to join an already established trust. Part 3 looks specifically at the practicalities around forming a brand new MAT from conception. The series looks at the importance of making the right choice, first steps and conducting due diligence to inform your decision



Special educational needs and disabilities and the governing board - Governing boards are responsible for the culture and ethos of their schools and your approach to pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) can be particularly revealing. An effective governing board is one that sets a culture and ethos which is welcoming and provides an environment in which all pupils can thrive and reach their full potential. This new NGA guide aims to support governing boards to develop and strengthen their SEND programme.



Primary and secondary assessment guidance – Over the past few years, the assessment system for both primary and secondary schools in England has undergone a significant amount of change. Primary schools faced the removal of national curriculum levels in 2014 and the first cohort of year 6s taking tests based on the new curriculum last summer. Secondary schools are encountering significant changes to attainment and progress measures including a new GSCE grading system. NGA has spent a sizeable chunk of time producing a whole suite of guidance leading you through these reforms and providing easy to digest information on exactly what this means for governing boards.



The right people around the table: how to recruit and retain school governors and trustees - This updated recruitment guide is designed to complement Inspiring Governance, which is a free online recruitment service connecting volunteers interested in serving as governors and trustees with schools who are looking for new recruits. ‘The right people around the table’ is a practical guide designed to help school governors and trustees plan and carry out recruitment and induction. The guide highlights good practice for induction, training and succession.



Knowing your school: Engaging parents - In order to govern effectively, boards need to know their schools: this is one of NGA’s eight elements of effective governance. Engaging with parents is an excellent way for governors and trustees to get to know their school. Parents are key stakeholders and their involvement in schools has a major influence on their children's achievement. This briefing note, written in partnership with PTA UK, aims to help governors and trustees understand why parents are so important and how the board can effectively engage with them.



The apprenticeship levy - Last April, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that all employers with a wage bill of £3 million or more would have to pay an Apprenticeship Levy. It’s fair to say the apprenticeship levy caused some confusion, especially with regards to who actually has to pay out. NGA’s brief but practical guide gets to the bottom of exactly what the levy is, what it is hoped it will achieve, who has to pay it and what steps schools need to take to pay it.



Got any suggestions? 

This is just a quick glimpse at the host of information NGA has produced during the last 12 months. If you have a question about school governance, NGA probably already has the answer online, if we don’t, we want to hear your suggestions and requests for new guidance for the 2017/18 academic year, as well as any feedback on the existing guidance we have. Please send any suggestions or comments directly to

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