Bringing professional skill sets onto school governing boards

The DfE’s recently published research into school and academy governance has highlighted that school/ academy governing boards are continuing to seek volunteers who bring professional skill sets to the governing table; to sit alongside their personal commitment to improving schools.

The research shows that some of the most sought-after skill sets tend to be finance, educational policy/ school improvement, data analysis, HR, strategic planning and premise and facility management. It also shows that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made ‘risk management’ skills an increasingly sought-after commodity for governing boards.

These research findings reinforce the long-standing partnership work Inspiring Governance has been undertaking with professional associations and member networks with the sole focus of getting these skills sets onto school governing boards. Professional/ Member associations themselves have quickly identified the opportunity to build civic links in the community; understand the communities their members work within; and develop the workforce of the future at a critical time for the country.

Professional associations have also seen school governance as a great CPD opportunity for their members, giving them the chance to deploy their professional skills in a different context and the opportunity to learn new ones, like strategic and financial planning. During national career development month some of our partners have been telling us why they see school governance as so important:

The Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability promote the role of governor because; “it aligns with the ICRS competency framework, particularly around championing ethical behaviour and engaging stakeholders”.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) said: “The work of a school governor facilitates a direct connection between school and industry, helping to keep engineering on the agenda within education. Our members will also benefit from the experience of helping to develop strategic leadership as well as using analytic approaches to problem solving.”

The Society for the Environment believe that; “environmental professionals and organisations involved in supporting school governance will showcase the impact of the environmental professional community on the local landscape and will certainly raise the pressing importance of sustainability of the environment at a strategic level within education”.

We have also recently been working with the Institute of Leadership and Management, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the Institute of Risk Management to publicise the governor role and to bring the sought-after skills of their members direct to school governing boards. Volunteering for school governance is a win-win for all concerned, with schools benefitting from the many and varied skill sets a professional association member brings, whilst professional associations benefit from a seat at the strategic decision-making table in schools.

National Career Development Month provides a timely opportunity to say a huge thank-you to all the professional associations and member networks we work with – school and academy governance is in a better place from your valued involvement. To read more about what professional associations can gain from school governance, please visit the following articles or contact Lynn King at :

Institute of Risk Management

Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development

Institute for Leadership & Management