Helping you prosper

School and trust governance report published

The report reveals a number of interesting points, and the full report can be read here.

The purpose of the research was to provide independent evidence to inform future policy development and enable evidence-based prioritisation of resources to support school and trust governance throughout England, with the aim of identifying:

  • governance structures and distribution of responsibility and authority between levels of trust governance
  • size and characteristics of school and trust governing bodies, including demographics and skills of governors, trustees, Local Governing Body (LGB) members and clerks
  • recruitment and retention of those involved in governance
  • the experiences of those involved in governance; and
  • what, if any, challenges governors, trustees, LGB members, and clerks face to be effective in their respective roles.

Of the 1,207 schools around two thirds were academies, with the remainder maintained schools.

Some facts drawn from the report:

  • despite the majority of boards having vacancies and struggling to recruit governors and trustees unrelated to the school, most governing bodies were relying on word-of-mouth recruitment from their local and personal networks
  • there was a mismatch between the skills the governors/trustees felt their governing body had and those which the executive leaders felt they had, particularly in relation to knowledge and understanding of the education sector. There was also a mismatch in the (lack of) confidence individuals had in their own financial skills and their confidence in their boards’ skills in this area
  • over three-quarters (82%) of clerks were female whereas just over half (53%) of governors/trustees were female. Chair roles comprised equal proportions (49%) of females and males
  • the majority of respondents (over 80%) in governance roles in all school types were aged 40 or older with 32% of governors/trustees and 46% of chairs being aged 60 years or older
  • 37% of chairs were retired
  • the majority of boards had vacancies and the average number of vacancies per board was higher for maintained schools and SATs than for MATs
  • on average, respondents estimated that they spent 17 hours per term preparing for meetings, 16 hours attending meetings, and 23 hours undertaking all other activities related to their governance role
  • when interviewed, chairs, governors and trustees said that a desire to volunteer, existing school links, having relevant experience and skills, and looking for new life challenges were the main reasons for deciding to become involved in governance
  • just under a fifth of MAT trust boards (18%) had a governance model utilising cluster bodies or academy councils, rather than the more traditional local governing body structure
  • SAT trust boards were, on average, the largest of the different school types at 13.6 trustees. On average, MAT trust boards were smaller with 9.6 trustees
  • 57% of chairs of SAT boards and 51% of chairs of MAT boards reported that they were also a Member for the trust
  • of the governors, trustees, clerks and Members surveyed, 77% were planning to stay in their post for the next 12 months, 10% were planning to leave and 13% were unsure
  • 300 individual respondents advised they were planning to leave their position in the next 12 months. 34% said this was due to a ‘change in circumstances’ and a similar proportion (32%) said this was because ‘the role takes up too much time/workload is too high’
  • among clerks who received an annual salary, the mean salary was £9,197.90 and with a median of £3,635. Among those who were paid an hourly rate, the mean rate was £29.33 per hour, with a median rate of £11 per hour. Finally, those who received a fixed amount per meeting were paid a mean amount of £188.44, with a median value of £181.

If you have any questions on reading the report and would like to discuss these with our UHY academy experts, or indeed have any questions in relation to governance, please do contact us.

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