School Governors and Employer Engagement in Education

This seminar focused on the benefits of employer engagement in a governing capacity in schools.

Abstract: The 2010 Education White Paper confirmed the importance of school governing in England and explicitly stated an intention to work with the Education Employer Taskforce and others “to encourage business people and professionals to volunteer as governors”. The seminar analysed the validity of that intention by exploring how it relates to the twin purposes of governance: ensuring legitimacy and enhancing performance. These two ideas interact but the paper argued that the emphasis on each has shifted over time, which has implications for the kind of governors schools are thought to require.

The paper also considered what is already known about employer and employee involvement in governing. It discussed ways of understanding their engagement in school governing and will describe an analytical model. The paper set the model in a wider frame by exploring the notions of governance agency and governance capital which were developed from recent research into school governing, which was funded by CfBT Education trust and set out in the ‘Hidden Givers’ report.

Biography: Chris James is the Professor of Educational Leadership and Management in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. His main research interests are in the leadership and management in schools and colleges, the affective aspects of educational organisations, collaborative working in educational settings and school governing. During his career, Chris has worked with a range of public, private and not-for-profit organizations including numerous local authorities and schools. He has directed a large number of educational research projects and published over 170 items including five books. In the last two years Chris has completed two research projects on school governing in England and another on school governing in other countries. He is currently working on a project looking at the role of the Chair of the Governing Body. Chris is Chair of the Education and Employers Taskforce Expert Group on School Governing.

Download Professor Chris James’s presentation