Over ten years ago Business in the Community (BITC) published their landmark report ‘Governing our Schools’. The report was written by BITC’s Director of Education Nick Chambers and his team for the National Council for Educational Excellence, which at the time was looking at how to make employer engagement in education easier and better for everyone involved.
It was a timely and insightful look at the state of school governance in 2008 and many of its recommendations still apply in education today. Fast forward ten years to 2018/19 and there has been a seismic shift in schools and academies, raising a wide range of new and continuing issues for the future of governance in our increasingly diverse schools and communities.
This study aims to take a comparative look back at the main trends in governance arising over the last decade in England’s schools and reflects on what they might mean for educationalists, stakeholders and policy makers into the next decade.
The research is based on interviews with sector experts, a literature review and focus groups. It highlights the ‘seismic’ changes in governance that have been brought about by the growth of multi-academy trusts and the need to be clear with volunteers about the different types of governance roles that now exist. It cites clear improvements in a wide range of areas such as improved understanding of the purpose of governance, smaller more coherent boards and the breadth of routes open to volunteers to become governors.
However, it raises concerns over some areas showing little change in 10 years such as the diversity of school boards and the availability of clerks. It also raises new issues impacting on governance that were not conceived in 2008 such as technological change, funding and accountability.