Governance in Practice

The Purpose and Operation of School Governance

The purpose of governance is to provide confident and strong strategic leadership which leads to robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance.

The Governance Handbook is guidance from the Department for Education (‘the department’). It sets out the government’s vision and priorities for effective governance, roles and responsibilities.

The Handbook be read alongside the department’s ‘Competency Framework for Governance’ and the ‘Clerking Competency framework’ which describes the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for effective and professional clerking.

Governance must act at a strategic level, with the headteacher responsible and accountable to the board for the day to day running of the school.

All governance boards, no matter what type of school or how many schools they govern, have three core functions:

• Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;

• Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff; and

• Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

See: Legal Constitution and Operation of Governing Bodies and Academies.


The Education (School Government) (Terms of Reference) (England) Regulations 2000 state that when exercising its functions, the governing body shall:

a) act with integrity, objectivity and honesty and in the best interests of the school; and

b) be open about the decisions they make and the actions they take and in particular shall be prepared to explain their decisions and actions to interested parties.

See: Code of Conduct

Plus, the NGA’s Model Code of Conduct 2019.

DfE Statutory Policies

DfE School Complaints – Best practice guidance for school complaints procedures 2019

Shropshire Council – Complaints about schools and academies.  See also links to DfE Complaints guidance, below.

A-Z of documents in this library

Category: A

Category: C

Category: D

Category: E

Category: G

Category: I

Category: J

Category: L

Category: R

Category: S

Category: T

Category: W