Governance Leadership

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Applications are now open for our March 2019 cohort. Please register your interest below.

The Governance Leadership Programme, which we are running in partnership with the Confederation of School Trusts, builds strong governing boards in schools, academies and multi-academy trusts, enabling them to work effectively with school leaders to improve standards and outcomes for pupils. 

The programme develops the capacity of governance leaders and their boards, and there is therefore a careful balance of personal and board development. 

Our ‘joined-up leadership’ philosophy means that we include the wider board and executive leaders at key moments during the programme, and sustain this after the end of the programme through access to a powerful network.  

Through our organisations' combined expertise in education leadership, we have identified the key skills and competencies needed by chairs of governing boards, and have designed the programme content around these. 

The eight core topics are delivered through an inspiring and developmental two-day Residential taking place 15-16 March 2019 at Loughborough University. This is in addition to five self-directed online learning modules. The core topics are: 

  • Ethical leadership, culture and values 
  • Getting structures and processes right
  • Setting direction, managing change and working collaboratively
  • Building an effective team
  • Ensuring data-driven accountability and educational improvement
  • Financial performance and accountability
  • Managing compliance, risk and reputation   
  • Board evaluation and effectiveness

Find out more about Governance Leadership

The deadline for applications is 15 February for our March cohort. Please register your interest here and a member of our School Partnerships team will be in touch with more information on how to proceed.

Register your interest

Alongside the core curriculum participants will also be invited to attend optional Masterclasses on a range of topics. 

Personalised action plan

In addition to the core topics above, participants will undertake a board assessment. The head/CEO and at least one other governor/ trustee will also be asked to take part in this to triangulate results.  

Based on feedback, participants will then develop an action plan for improving the effectiveness of their board facilitated by a dedicated governance mentor, who will continue to review the progress of the participant's action plan across the 12 months.

Time commitment 

The programme includes a two-day residential training event; five online modules for participants to complete in their own time; completion of a self and board assessment; optional masterclasses; and an optional celebration event at the end of the programme. The programme will equate to one hour's work per week plus the residential.  

Benefits Back to top

Focus on ethical leadership 

We have a commitment to ensuring that at the heart of strong school leadership is the drive to ensure better outcomes for the students we serve.  

Flexible learning approach 

We understand that although committed to having an impact in their role it is unlikely that participants' governance duties are their only professional commitment. We have therefore designed the programme so that six of the eight core modules will be delivered via an online training platform, allowing flexibility in how they tailor the programme.  

Focus on joined up-leadership 

The programme focuses on ensuring that the goals of the organisation are realised by boards and executive leaders working together.  

Access to our networks 

Participants will gain access to the network via our online learning space, allowing you to discuss best practice and share resources with other Chairs of Governors. 

Bespoke programme 

By starting with an assessment and creating a tailored action plan we ensure that their needs are being met by the curriculum. The bespoke support we offer in addition to the core modules and masterclasses is designed to ensure that participants are able to effectively deliver their action plan.  

Personal development 

Participants will develop many transferable skills, including building effective teams, data management and strategic planning. 

Fully subsidised places are currently available for this programme along with an additional £300 governance support voucher, which can be used to purchase bespoke elements of support for participants or their board. To be eligible participants must be:

  • a governor or Trustee from a MAT Board with 2+ schools
  • a governor of an individual school in an Opportunity Area rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘coasting’

If the governing board of the school or MAT does not fall into either of the above categories, then participants are eligible for £500 towards the cost of the programme. The school or MAT will have to contribute £1,200. 

If the governing board of your school or MAT has already accessed the free funding, and wishes to send subsequent board members for future cohorts, the board will be charged a rate of £1, 700. 

Next steps Back to top

The deadline for applications is 15 February for our March cohort. Please register your interest in the programme, and a member of our School Partnerships team will be in touch with more information and next steps.

Register your interest


Applicants must be one of the following:

  • Chairs, vice chairs, directors and trustees of multi-academy trust (MAT) governing boards 
  • Chairs of local governing bodies 
  • Chairs of standalone maintained schools