Outstanding Governance for Academies: Ensuring a skilled and confident governing body

Outstanding Governance for Academies: Ensuring a skilled and confident governing body

Primary, Secondary
Sep 2013


This DIY training resource that will help your governors understand their role in the academy set up and work effectively with senior leaders and staff to achieve their core purpose of improving outcomes for pupils.

This practical resource outlines the core roles of academy governance identified by Ofsted and the Department for Education, explores the practicalities of being a governor and looks in detail at four core areas of focus to help you develop governance that is evaluated as outstanding as part of your academy’s leadership and management.


With activities designed to fit into meeting schedules, this resource will equip your governors to:

  • maximise effectiveness by focusing on the areas that need their attention and efforts
  • play a strategic role as leaders that work collaboratively with the head and other staff
  • understand their role and meet Ofsted expectations of academy governance
  • ensure focus on pupil progress and achievement through effective use of evidence and data
  • make judgements on the quality of teaching by understanding what is outstanding or good and identifying areas that require improvement
  • balance effective support with appropriate challenge to help staff address issues
  • contribute to performance management and pay policies and monitor their usage
  • support school improvement by ensuring spending decisions are guided by the needs of all pupils
  • promote a safe learning environment by promoting rigour in areas of behaviour and safeguarding
  • present a value for money offering as a school by ensuring robust financial systems exist

Why buy an Optimus Education DIY Training resource?

Outstanding Governance for Academies: Ensuring a skilled and confident governing body is part of the Optimus Education D-I-Y (deliver it yourself) training portfolio. Our D-I-Y training packages provide:

  • value for money – training sessions can be delivered multiple times to different groups of staff
  • comprehensive training materials – detailed training plans, presentations, handouts and a variety of practical activities to engage participants are all provided in the package
  • flexibility – training sessions can be customised with case studies, questions or exercises which are specific to your school’s needs
  • excellent quality – the training materials have been written by experienced trainers with expertise in the topic area; you benefit from their knowledge and guidance
  • measurable outcomes – each package includes ways to monitor effectiveness and learning outcomes.


Summary of contents

Outstanding Governance for Academies contains six training presentations designed to take governors clearly through the key roles, practical issues and four key areas of focus, offering examples of best practice and encouraging participants to focus on their own experiences and knowledge.

  • Empower governors to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • Enable use of data to monitor quality of teaching.
  • Maximise contribution in key areas of focus.
  • Improve pupil outcomes and educational achievement.

Training session breakdown

Training session 1 – Roles and Responsibilities of the Governing Body

Learning outcomes:

  • understand how your role as academy governors differs from that of governors in a maintained school
  • understand your role as strategic leaders and how you interact with the head and other staff at school
  • understand your individual roles, but also the concept of not being able to act individually

Training session 2 – Governing in Practice: the nuts and bolts

Learning outcomes:

  • understand what you have to do and how to evidence it thoroughly
  • understand how a governing body can work effectively
  • be clear about how the individual governor can contribute to the work of the governing body
  • understand how to achieve the right level of challenge and support
  • be able to self-evaluate

Training session 3 – Achievement, Data, Groups, Gaps

Learning outcomes:

  • understand the importance and relevance of understanding performance data
  • know how to interpret data
  • know what questions you should be asking of leadership about achievement gaps and effectiveness of interventions

Training session 4 – Quality of Teaching, Performance Management

Learning outcomes:

  • know how to collate evidence to verify the quality of teaching is as reported
  • consider when and how this is reported upon and by whom
  • have accessed an anonymised overview of performance management documents, and know what questions to ask about it
  • input into the pay and performance management policies and monitor adherence to these

Training session 5 – Finance, Budgeting, VfM and Pupil Premium

Learning outcomes:

  • understand roles around finance and ensure you have appropriate checks and balances in place
  • ensure you have the right expertise on board and if not you know where to buy it in from
  • know how to ensure your school presents value for money
  • know how to ensure pupil premium money is spent on the right children and enables them to make good progress

Training session 6 – Behaviour and Safety

Learning outcomes:

  • understand these core areas and have appropriate checks and balances in place
  • know what evidence you need to look for to know that these areas are being managed properly

About the expert

David Marriott is an education consultant specialising in governance and school leadership.

He served as Head of Governor Services for Wiltshire Council between 1995 and 2011.  Prior to that role he was a teacher (English and Drama) for 21 years in 5 different secondary schools, including deputy headship in the city of Bristol.  He has served as a governor at both primary and secondary level and has been a member, Vice Chair and Chair of NCOGS (National Co-coordinators of Governor Services).


  • A4 Ringbinder, c. 80 pages
  • CD-ROM containing PowerPoint presentations and accompanying resources


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