The challenges facing school governing bodies in England: A 'perfect storm'?

C. James, S. Brammer, M. Connolly, D Eddy Spicer, Jane James, Jeff Jones

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10 Citations (SciVal)


The governing bodies of publicly funded schools in England are currently facing a number of substantive challenges of various kinds. Many of the challenges are long-standing, while others relate to the current context for governing wrought by recent education policy developments initiated by central government. A number of the challenges are immediate and intense, and may well develop over time. The challenges result from both policy imperatives and the challenge of governing effectively - procedural imperatives. The intention of this article is to analyse the challenges facing governing bodies in England. We argue that the challenges interact and synergize and could develop into 'a perfect storm', which could have significant implications for the security and stability of the education system and for society generally. Our thinking is shaped by the notion of interactive governance (Kooiman, 2003), which posits that the workings of the school governance network, of which school governing is a part, is best understood in terms of interactions. Following this introduction, we provide some background information for those not familiar with the school governing system in England. We then very briefly describe the three research projects in which we have been involved that form the empirical base for the article (Balarin et al., 2008; James et al., 2010, 2012, 2013). The challenges facing governing bodies are considered under the headings: school governing's low profile; the institution and the environment; accountability; and the role and the responsibility of school governing bodies. The way these different challenges interconnect and add together is discussed in the penultimate section. In the final section, we make some concluding comments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
JournalManagement in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • school governors
  • school governing bodies
  • school governing
  • school governance


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