Monday, 2 May 2011

Understanding and developing the role of the chair of the school governing body

A University of Bath and University of Warwick Research Project
Funded by CfBT Education Trust

The ‘Hidden Givers’ research project, which was funded by CfBT Education Trust and undertaken by researchers from University of Bath, confirmed the crucial importance of chairs of school governing bodies (ChGBs) in effective school governance. The 23000 or so ChGBs carry a significant community leadership responsibility and can make a substantial contribution. Furthermore, they are all are unpaid volunteers. The recent Schools White Paper confirmed the importance of the ChGB role. With the increase in the number of academies and the likely growth in ‘school’ autonomy generally, ChGBs will probably become even more significant in the future.

The research

As with much of school governing, the role of ChGB is inadequately understood. This Project, which being funded by CfBT Education Trust, will seek to redress that lack of understanding. It will explore who ChGBs in England are and what they do, and the development of ChGBs. The outcomes will enhance understandings of the role and provide a secure basis for future policy developments and ChGB training and development.

The research team

The research will be undertaken by a team of researchers led by and including Dr David Eddy Spicer and Professor Chris James of the University of Bath and Professor Steve Brammer of the University of Warwick.

The research programme

The Project will run from 1st April 2011 to 31st December 2011 and will be in two stages.

• Stage 1. A national web-based survey of ChGBs and headteachers (1st April to Mid September 2011). A preliminary Project report describing the outcomes of the survey will be published in late September/early October 2011.

• Stage 2. Interviews with ChGBs and the headteachers of at least 50 schools in widespread geographical locations (Early September 2011 – 31st December 2011). The findings of this Stage will be documented in the final report which will be published in January 2012.

Project management

The Project will have an Advisory Group comprising representatives of CfBT Education Trust, the National Governors Association and the Project Management Team.

Involvement in the project

The Project will be working with national organisations that have an interest in school governing. We are eager to engage the support and involvement of other individuals and organisations who also have an interest.

Please contact Professor Chris James ( if you would like to find out more about the project, and/or become involved in its work.

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