03 Jun Who’s Governing The Governors?
“More than half a million people contribute in excess of 2 million working days to serving schools as unpaid governors across England, Scotland and Wales within the state sector alone. This report seeks to acknowledge that contribution and to assess how the role and responsibilities of governors will need to adapt to a changing context and to offer ways in which schools both individually and collectively may develop and enhance the quality of governance and the quality of experience for those who make a substantial and largely unacknowledged contribution to the UK’s education system.
The General Election of 2010 marked a watershed in the provision of secondary education in England. The formation of the Coalition Government, with its commitment to widening choice, expanding the academies programme, the creation of Free Schools and reducing the role of local authorities in administration and influence presents many welcome opportunities to improve opportunities for all concerned with the UK education system: teacher, pupils and parents.
At the same time both the removal of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) and changes to the inspection role of Ofsted will create potential risks and challenges which will place new powers in the hands of school governors and make their role of even greater importance in the future than at any time since the 1944 Education Act.
We will consider the implications of the 2010 White Paper, the immediate consequences which it creates and the longer term challenges and opportunities which may arise in terms of improving school performance and the overall standard of taxpayer funded education. And it sets out the importance and contribution which good school governance can make towards that objective.
Whatever your view of the Big Society, School Governors must surely be at the heart of it in terms of their commitment, number and dedication to ensuring schools fulfil their potential.
How boards should be structured and how they address the needs of parents, staff and pupils, will be a critical test of the current reforms and the success of the institutions themselves.
It is our contention that the importance of governing bodies in addressing such challenges will be greater than ever before. This should be a two way process: both to assess how schools should be governed and how they can secure the highest possible standard of governors to ensure that they provide the oversight and strategic direction to see schools through the rapidly changing environment.
Our report has been underpinned and informed by a series of meetings and interviews with Heads, Chairs and Chief Executives of education providers and institutions. Although focussed on the state sector, this report also combines an analysis of our findings with an assessment of some of the challenges facing independent schools and offers some areas where fresh thinking may be of benefit within the context of some difficult years ahead. We seek to see how improvements to governance can be a critical element in ensuring the raising standards and improving the quality of education. We hope that it will stimulate discussion, demonstrate the importance and appeal of serving on governing bodies and encourage schools to consider the fundamental challenges of structure, purpose and effectiveness during the years ahead.”
Neil’s office kindly emailed me a copy of the report, which you can view here: Who Governs the Governors?.