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Could area-wide education boards solve the governance crisis?

Could area-wide education boards solve the governance crisis?

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This interesting article appeared in the Guardian earlier this week by Nansi Ellis, head of education, policy and research at the ATL.

The article advocates the introduction of area education boards. The idea behind such boards is that they would would offer a strategic overview and vision for teaching and learning in the local area, including all schools and colleges whilst working with the local authority to develop mechanisms to plan, work and learn together. This would allow individual  school governing bodies to be smaller and more focussed on the role of “critical friend”.

The education select committee is currently considering the issue of school governance. The crisis in school governance has been widely reported – many schools find it hard to recruit good governors and SGOSS have recently begun a national campaign to try to address this. Creating such boards that took on the complex, technical roles would mean schools would not need experts in employment law, finance, building regulations, health and safety on their own governing body.

Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s chief inspector, wants governors to hold their schools to account: he’s producing a School Data Dashboard to help governors get an overview of test results and attendance. All of this highlights one key dilemma, what is the point of governing bodies, and how do they fit with teachers’ responsibility and accountability? Governers try to take on a myriad of different roles, which is often why it is so difficult to recruit.

So would local area education boards be a solution? is this not the role that Governors services once played? We have seen the introduction of Academy chains and cluster groups recently with one shared Governing Body, this is a similar idea, so maybe it could work for maintained schools?

Let us know your thoughts on this idea.

Could area-wide education boards solve the governance crisis?  by Nansi Ellis appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday 5th March. Read the article here.



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