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New guidance to drive up governance standards

14 January 2014

The days of local people wanting to 'do their bit' for the community by sitting on school governing bodies may become a thing of the past following the introduction of new guidance by the DfE.

The draft guidance (which applies to maintained schools only) requires schools to “review their effectiveness regularly, including the extent to which their size and structure is fit for purpose and their members have the necessary skills”. This would include carrying out a skills audit before recruiting community governors and recruiting only according to any gaps in the existing governing body’s skills and experience.

Whilst many schools will be already adopting this approach, it does reflect an attempt by the Government to make governing bodies more like the boards of private companies.

The government should, however, tread carefully in this area. By raising the bar too much, their laudable attempts to improve standards could discourage volunteers in areas where governor recruitment is difficult and where they are needed the most.

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