Statutory guidance updated for state school governors


Governing bodies must review their effectiveness regularly, including the extent to which governors have the required skills.

The requirement comes as part of updated statutory guidance that has been issued to governing bodies in local authority maintained schools.

The guidance states that governing bodies should be no bigger than necessary and advises that “smaller governing bodies are likely to be more cohesive and dynamic”.

An emphasis is also placed on the skills and experience of governors, with governing bodies advised to use “skills audits” to “identify any specific gaps that need to be filled in the skills, knowledge and experience of existing governors”. 

The guidance recommends using the skills audit produced by the National Governors’ Association (NGA).

Governing bodies are also urged to review their effectiveness on a regular basis. The guidance states: “This should include reflecting on the merits of their constitution and the additional benefits that may be gained from forming a federation to create a single governing body across more than one school in order to develop a more strategic perspective and create more robust accountability through the ability to compare and contrast across schools.”

It adds: “Governing bodies should re-evaluate their constitution if things are not going well – for example following an Ofsted inspection or in the light of an external review of governance. 

“They should also consider the benefits of re-constitution as a positive and proactive move to ensure they are fit for purpose for the future.”

The guidance also sets out a number of “priorities” for when deciding the membership of the governing body and gives a list of the common skills that ministers expect governors will require. 

It also summarises the rules around governor elections.

You can download the updated guidance at

You can also download the NGA’s skills audit at


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