A new Audit Office guide on best practice in School Governance has been officially launched today by Northern Ireland’s Comptroller & Auditor General, Dorinnia Carville, the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, Dr Mark Browne, and Chief Executive of the Education Authority, Sara Long.
The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) guide was developed in recognition of the challenges facing Board members who, while volunteers acting in an unpaid capacity, are accountable to the Department of Education or Education Authority for their use of public money and for ensuring the best outcomes for learners.
Based upon NIAO research and engagement with the local education sector, the guide focuses on the key components of good governance and has been prepared for use by boards of all sizes, complexities and school types. It provides practical information and advice for readers on issues such as:
- Getting the right people, skills and experience in place
- Recruiting and inducting new governors
- Understanding roles and responsibilities
- Conducting meetings and the role of the Chairperson
- Handling complaints
- Evaluating boards and succession planning
Commenting on the new guide, Dorinnia Carville said:
“The education system in Northern Ireland is complex, with various different school types and managing authorities, as well as the significant pressure facing schools at the moment. I appreciate that, in light of this complexity, some Boards of Governors may consider it difficult to apply all of the best practice principles set out in this guide. However, I would encourage all stakeholders to consider and apply these principles when appointing nominating new governors, operating a Board of Governors or reviewing current guidance and procedures. I hope they find it useful.”
Mark Browne added:
“School Governors play a vital role in helping our education system function and deliver good outcomes for children and young people. The Department welcomes the publication of the NIAO School Governance Good Practice Guide. It is a valuable resource for all Governors and provides important advice on their roles and responsibilities and best practice in school governance.”
Also welcoming the new publication, Education Authority Chief Executive Sara Long said:
“School governors play a vital role in supporting school leaders in school improvement. Working together, they set the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school. They take a wide range of corporate decisions, and are collectively accountable for the overall standards of performance. While the governor role can at times be challenging, it is also enormously rewarding.”
The NIAO's School Governance good practice guide is available to download from the Publications section of our website.