Chairs of governors at odds with boards over workload

The organisation that represents school governors has warned of a “disconnect” on workload between chairs and their boards.

A survey by the National Governance Association found that while 81 per cent of chairs believed their school was effectively addressing the issue, just 49 per cent of staff governors and 61 per cent of other governors believed that was the case.

Thirty-six per cent of governing boards that responded to the survey said workload was their top concern.

Steve Edmonds, the NGA’s director of advice and guidance, said it was “not surprising that so many governing boards consider addressing staff workload and wellbeing issues to be one of the top issues facing their school or trust”.

The association expected the problem to get worse “given the significant strain that school leaders and staff have been under maintaining continuity of education during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Governing boards working alongside school leaders have substantial responsibilities to support the wellbeing of those employed in their schools and trusts, including their work-life balance.

“Now, more than ever, it is important for boards collectively to take a lead in considering and supporting the mental health and wellbeing needs of their school community, particularly their staff.”

The survey also highlighted concerns about school funding and staff recruitment.

Almost a third of boards (31 per cent) said the additional funding announced last year was unlikely to make a difference, although 48 per cent said it would.

On recruitment, 62 per cent of governors in ‘inadequate’ schools said they had trouble attracting good candidates for senior leadership roles, such as headteachers, executive heads and academy trust chief executives. Thirty-six per cent of governors In good schools raised similar concerns.