English schools lack business management expertise on their governing body

The figures, from a survey of nearly 1,000 school governors, follow the Department for Education’s recent announcement calling for governing bodies to include more people with professional skills.

The findings highlight the gap between the government’s vision of highly skilled governing boards and the day-to-day realities of school governance.

With more than half of governors finding recruitment difficult to manage over the past year and almost six in 10 saying the role is less attractive to new volunteers than five years ago, more needs to be done to ensure people with the right skills are attracted to school governance.

One business professional who is moving from the boardroom to the classroom as a governor is Geoff Wyss, a previous owner and director of an engineering consultancy. He feels his broad knowledge and experience in most aspects of running a business have proved extremely beneficial to his governing board. He uses his financial skills as well as HR, legal, risk management, procurement and recruiting experience, all of which are needed on a governing body.

Geoff enjoys spending some of his spare time in being a school governor, knowing his time, skills and expertise are helping the future generation.”

Another business management professional, Philip Trow, Head of Programme Delivery at Lloyds Bank has seen his skills in feedback, questioning, coaching and line management be put to great use in the guiding his school through years of success. Similarly, Martin Caufield, a Senior Manager also at Lloyds Banking Group, has seen improved school results by helping shape strategy, improve recruitment, and mediate conversations about performance.

It’s not only schools that benefit from school governance. Two thirds of governors say their experience in the role has given them new skills for the workplace and over three quarters of those in employment say that it has helped them terms of gaining or using leadership and managerial skills at work.