New governor guidance issued

The body that represents governors in UK state-funded schools has issued new guidance to help governing boards carry out what it calls their “vital role”.

The Framework for Governance, produced by the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Wellcome Trust and published on 8 January, can be used by any school, regardless of type or governance structure.

It is designed to help governors evaluate their own practice, using 20 key questions for a governing board to ask itself; how to set the strategic direction for a school; and how to monitor progress against the strategy using performance indicators that go much further than just exam results.

Lord Nash, schools minister with responsibility for school governance, welcomed the Framework. He said many governors found setting strategic direction – a core function for governing bodies – challenging, adding that the new guidance provided “a powerful tool for helping boards formulate an ambitious strategy and monitor progress against it. Using the Framework will help boards maximise their effectiveness, and secure the best possible education for their pupils. Well informed, sector-led, guidance like this is exactly the sort of support governing bodies need.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said: “Schools with strong governance do not fail; they have a strong ethos, vision for the future and a plan to improve the education of their pupils.

“Setting an effective school strategy is an incredibly important part of the governing board’s role. The Framework for Governance should help schools to do this well, and we urge all governing boards to use this free resource to develop their school’s strategy.

“It should also help schools begin to monitor more of what we value, and not just what is easy to measure.”

Meanwhile, the Department for Education (DfE) has issued an updated edition of the Governors’ Handbook, for governors in all academies, free schools and maintained schools.

Published on the DfE website on 16 January, the handbook includes new or updated guidance on topics including the role of governing bodies, constitutions and procedures and school finance.

The revised guidance also includes updates on governor conflicts of interest, in relation to both where an individual governor’s personal or family interests and/or loyalties conflict with those of the governing body and financial issues.

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