Relevant skills for school governance

You shouldn’t think of relevant skills for school governance as being limited only to ‘hard’ skills. In addition to hard skills, developing your soft skills plays an important role in being a good school governor.

The Department for Education (DfE) states:

Relevant skills may include important personal attributes, qualities and capabilities, such as the ability and willingness to learn and develop new skills. Skills may also be taken to include the knowledge and perspectives that will contribute to good decision-making

Soft skills school governors bring to the board

The DfE recognises that it’s not only the ‘hard’ skills school governors bring to their board. The 7 attributes listed below include some vital ‘soft’ skills school governors need.

  1. Committed – For instance, devoting the required time/energy to the role and ambitious to achieve best possible outcomes for pupils. Prepared to give time, skills and knowledge to developing themselves and others in order to create highly effective governance.
  2. Confident – Of an independent mind, able to lead and contribute to courageous conversations, to express their opinion and to play an active role on the board.
  3. Curious – Possessing an enquiring mind and an analytical approach and understanding the value of meaningful questioning.
  4. Challenging – Providing appropriate challenge to the status quo, not taking information or data at face value and always driving for improvement.
  5. Collaborative – Prepared to listen to and work in partnership with others and understanding the importance of building strong working relationships within the board and with executive leaders, staff, parents and carers, pupils/students, the local community and employers.
  6. Critical – Understanding the value of critical friendship which enables both challenge and support, and self-reflective, pursing learning and development opportunities to improve their own and whole board effectiveness.
  7. Creative – Able to challenge conventional wisdom and be open-minded about new approaches to problem-solving; recognising the value of innovation and creative thinking to organisational development and success.