School governance in 2018: an annual survey by NGA in partnership with Tes


It is essential that the views of governors and trustees are heard in order to inform education policy and governance practice, and ultimately ensure that every child and young person receives an excellent education. Each year, NGA in partnership with Tes survey some of the quarter of a million people governing state-funded schools in England to gather their views and experiences. I'm delighted to share our School governance in 2018 report with you. It would be impossible to produce this valuable source of information on school governance without the contribution of NGA members, so thank you to each of you who took part in the survey.
"Despite the vital role that they play in the education system, the views of governing boards are often overlooked in conversations about national education policy. Governors and trustees are an enormous group of people who know a lot about state schools, including the tough challenges caused by sustained funding pressures – they are taking the difficult decisions like not replacing teaching staff or cutting the curriculum offer in their schools." 

Emma Knights, chief executive, NGA
Key findings from the report include:
  • Three quarters of governors and trustees have a negative view of the government's performance in education over the past year.
  • Funding is the biggest issue for governing boards, especially being felt in secondary schools, sixth forms and in early years. Just one in five are confident that they can manage budget constraints without compromising the quality of education. 
  • Diversity on governing boards is a major concern, including when it comes to who is elected chair, and not enough boards are actively considering the issue.
  • Almost half of schools covered by the survey are providing additional services for families in need, including washing school uniforms, meals outside of term time, food banks and emergency loans. 
  • Despite a trend towards smaller governing boards, recruiting volunteers to govern schools remains challenging with the number reporting two or more vacancies rising to 38% in 2018.
  • Despite the prominence of the need for effective clerking rising in recent years, 9% of respondents still either did not have – or did not know if they had – a clerk who could provide the board with advice on governance, constitutional and procedural matters.
  • Staff recruitment is particularly challenging in regions surrounding London and in schools with lower Ofsted grades; many secondary schools are struggling to recruit teachers to core subjects.
  • NGA's proposal for a fourth core function of governing boards - ensuring effective engagement with stakeholders – has the support of a majority of governors and trustees with only 17% saying they did not support the proposal.

The report explores the results of the survey including who governs, governance practice and views on education policy. It also makes recommendations for governing boards and the Department for Education based on the findings. 

Use #SchoolGovernance2018 on social media to have your say on the findings and to keep up-to-date with reaction to the report. 
Read the report

Info from Surrey and Babcock 4S

Surrey Schools Bulletin  - Archived editions

Surrey Education in Partnership

Sustainable and inclusive schools-led education

National education policy and funding changes are transforming education and driving the transition to a schools-led system.

This journey will see roles, responsibilities, lines of accountability and funding arrangements changing. Through the Education in Partnership (EiP) programme, the council is working with education providers and other stakeholders.


Click here for more information and downloads.

Family Learning in Surrey


Family Learning is funded provision run in partnership with schools and usually on school premises. It aims to engage with and improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and their families. 


Family Learning results in a wide range of benefits for children, families and schools: helps to close the attainment gap; improves parental engagement in children's learning; improves pupil behaviour and raises aspirations of children and families.


If a school would like to work with Family Learning to engage with families that they feel would benefit from this funded provision they need to contact by phone or email one of the Assistant Curriculum Managers who will arrange to visit the school and plan a programme together.


We will require the school to provide a suitable room/s for learning, a point of contact in the school and to actively engage and recruit the families for the Family Learning courses. Family Learning provide marketing materials, fully qualified tutors and the resources for the courses..


The link to the Family Learning website is:


You can also find Surrey Family Learning on Facebook.


Elly Neville
Assistant Curriculum Manager
Family Learning
Community Learning and Skills
01932 794014
07800 717806

The future of assessment

With pupils in year 6 taking their key stage 2 SATs tests this week, and GCSEs and A levels beginning from Monday, assessment will be a key focus for schools across the country.

LKMco and Pearson have published an interim report on the future of assessment. The report reflects the views of teachers, pupils, parents and governing boards. As part of the consultation, governors and trustees took part in focus groups in Birmingham and Essex earlier in the Spring – thank you to those who participated.

The report put forward a number of initial conclusions based on the feedback received so far. Those which will be of particular interest to governors and trustees include:

  • assessment impacts workload and schools need to ensure that their policies and expectations are realistic
  • concern about the impact of statutory tests on pupils’ and teachers’ wellbeing
  • teachers do not feel their professional judgement is valued highly enough
  • teachers, parents and young people are concerned that assessment is impacting on the content of the curriculum
  • more should be done to share best practice across the system
  • there was particular concern about how assessments are impacting pupils with special education needs

A final report will be published later in the summer.


Would you like to have your say on assessment?

The online consultation which will feed in to the final report remains open to all governors and trustees serving in primary and secondary schools in England. You don’t need to be an assessment expert to take part; the consultation comprises three short questions about your views on assessment, and some brief questions about you. It will take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.


To take part in LKMco and Pearson’s online consultation, please click here.


For more on assessment, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.

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This page, the NGA news and other information pages are updated weekly during term time and regularly during school holidays. For additional information, please contact us by email:

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