NASUWT responds to chief inspector’s comments on school governance

Responding to the Chief Inspector for Schools’ comments about school governance, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“The Chief Inspector’s comments reflect many of the NASUWT’s longstanding concerns about the quality of governance in too many schools.

“While there are some excellent governing bodies that do a commendable job in providing challenge and support to school leaders, this is by no means the case everywhere. In particular, the Chief Inspector is absolutely right to point to the failure of governors to block the outrageously excessive remuneration packages given to some headteachers.

“Governance is central to ensuring that the education system benefits from well-run schools.

“The Chief Inspector’s proposal that chairs of governing bodies should be paid is an idea that has been examined in the past, most notably by the Ministerial Working Party on school governance under the last Labour Government.

“While this idea has obvious and immediate appeal, the implications of introducing such a system across 23,000 schools in England would be significant, not least in terms of the costs that would be involved. There may be more achievable methods of improving governance, such as more effective training, that might yield positive results more quickly.

“A key concern not addressed specifically in the Chief Inspector’s comments is the differences in governance arrangements between maintained schools and academies.

“Unlike maintained schools, academies have substantial discretion over the ways in which governance is undertaken and some schools and multi-academy trusts have used this freedom to establish opaque and ambiguous governance structures that undermine effective internal school accountability.

“It is clear that if the quality of governance is to improve across the education system, basic minimum standards of governance should apply across all publicly funded schools, not just to those in the maintained sector.”