Press release

NGA and Wellcome Trust launch Framework for Governance

The National Governors' Association (NGA) and the Wellcome Trust have today launched the jointly developed Framework for Governance, an essential document for all governing boards to help them effectively carry out their vital role. It is a flexible guide that can be used by any school regardless of phase, type or governance structure.

Strong school governance is arguably more important now than it has ever been – governing boards have more responsibility and are held accountable for the performance of the school more rigorously than ever before.

The Framework for Governance aims to help governors and trustees successfully meet these challenges. It sets out how governors can evaluate their own practice, using the 'Twenty key questions for a governing board to ask itself' [1]; how to set the strategic direction for a school; and how to monitor progress against the strategy using high-level performance indicators that go much further than just exam results.

Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, said in support of the initiative: "Governing boards are crucial to the success of our schools. Setting strategic direction is one of their core functions, but recent research shows that many find this challenging. The Framework for Governance developed by the Wellcome Trust and the National Governors’ Association provides 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."

All schools will be emailed an electronic copy of the Framework on Thursday 8 January 2015, and it will also be available to download free of charge from the NGA website.

The Wellcome Trust has a programme of activity that focuses on improving school governance, recognising its importance in improving the leadership and direction of science and maths education. In 2014 it developed Questions for Governors, an evidence-based online tool to facilitate discussions between school governors and senior leaders about science and maths education.

Hilary Leevers, head of Education and Learning at the Wellcome Trust, said: "We've enjoyed working with schools, colleges, their governors, and interested organisations, particularly the National Governors' Association, to develop the Framework for Governance. We believe tat it will help governors to assess and improve their own practice and the educational outcomes of their schools and it includes fresh ideas for monitoring a wide range of these outcomes. We anticipate that the Framework will yield benefits to science education, through its general use, but especially when it is combined with more targeted tools, like Questions for Governors."

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, added: "We support the Wellcome Trust and National Governors' Association's Framework for Governance. Successful schools routinely demonstrate an effective partnership between headteachers and the governing body.

"It’s vital that governors and school leaders work together effectively. Whilst ensuring that the headteacher is keeping the school on the right path, the governing body must also allow school leaders the latitude they need in matters of operational management. NAHT also welcomes all efforts to ensure that those people selected as governors have the skills, knowledge and attitude they need to perform in the best interests of the children at the school."