What is governance and why do we need it?

Governance is about overseeing the success of the school. It is about agreeing priorities and monitoring progress towards them. It is not about running or managing the school or college – that is the job of paid professionals. Governance is about providing constructive support and challenge to leaders and managers to enable them to do their job to the best of their ability. Strong governance is becoming all the more essential as schools and colleges become more autonomous.

The Government and Ofsted have high expectations of governing bodies to:

  • set the vision and ethos
  • establish strategic direction
  • promote high standards of educational achievement
  • appoint a headteacher or principal and hold them to account for the performance of pupils and staff
  • oversee the financial performance of the school or college, making sure money is well spent.

Some schools work together as multi-academy trusts – these organisations can be involved in the education of thousands of pupils with significant budgets. They need strong corporate governance and trustees with financial and leadership experience to support them.

For more information about governance, read the first chapter of the Department for Education’s Governors’ Handbook and look at the following links:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/governors-handbook
www.nga.org.uk/About-Us/NGA-s-Views/Policies/Governance.aspx
www.nga.org.uk/Can-we-help/Free-governance-resources.aspx