About Governance & Leadership in South West England

Governing boards play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education for pupils: one that discovers and fosters the unique talents of every individual, so that they can contribute with confidence to a future which we can only imagine.  Governing boards are the vision-setters and strategic decision-makers for their schools and have a significant degree of autonomy in an increasingly school-led system.  

Whether your role is as a trustee/director in an academy or as a governor in a maintained school, central to the board’s role is ensuring robust accountability for every aspect of the school’s performance – as well as your own. Without a thorough understanding of performance measures, financial planning and resourcing, and how the curriculum enables your vision, you will be unable to carry out your role effectively.

National Leaders of Governance (NLG)

National Leaders of Governance are designated by the DfE. They are experienced and effective chairs of governors.  They use their skills supportively to help other boards to ensure they are having a positive impact on school and academy performance. They might do this through

  • - Mentoring chairs and through them, supporting the board 
    - Undertaking an External Review of Governance (ERG) and making recommendations for future practice
    - Mediating difficult relationships
    - Providing a fresh pair of eyes, which can help even the best boards to improve

NLGs are deployed to facilitate the development of existing boards, not to take over.  Nevertheless, in circumstances where schools have significant challenges, an NLG might be called upon to

  • - Chair and/or be a member of an interim executive board (IEB)
    - Join a governing board of a school in need of support

We know that no board sets out to do a bad job, but that sometimes boards lack the skills to ask the right questions; sometimes they take evidence at face value or simply become too close to be truly objective; sometimes they are so preoccupied with holding others to account that they forget to evaluate their own practice.  We want to see every governing board meeting the exacting standards of governance set for them, so that every child in the South West receives an education fit for the future, whatever that brings.  Please help us to help you. Each NLG provides 35 hours’ support across the school year free of charge, so the sooner you contact one, the less likely they are already to have used their 35 hours. Beyond that time, NLGs are at liberty to negotiate fees with individual schools.

We work in subregional teams. Subregions have a Regional Governance Lead who works closely with their Regional Teaching School Lead. A Project Manager is responsible to the TSCSW national council member for the NLG governance network in the region.  For details, see ‘contacts’ below.

Local Leaders of Governance are being recruited to complement the work of the NLG network and increase capacity in the South West.  Might you be, or know someone who could support governance in this way?  To find out more (Download Flyer) and/or apply, contact the Project Manager (Julia Steward)  for an initial conversation. 

How do I find an NLG?

To find a named NLG, go to the ‘Find Support’ menu at the top of this page, go to the drop-down menu ‘Designations’ and select ‘NLG’ then search by postcode.  If you know the name of the NLG you wish to look up, then go to the'Search NLG by Name' menu which hangs off the 'Find Support' menu.  You can also search by subregion if you know which area you are in.

Regional Leadership and Governance Events

Free Governor Training : 

30 March 2019 Cornwall Governors Conference (venue tbc)


 Region   Local Authorities    Lead
 Region A  BANES, Bristol, North Somerset,  Somerset,  South Gloucestershire  Geoff Mountjoy
 Region B  Gloucestershire, Swindon, Wiltshire   Keith Clover
 Region C  Bournemouth, Dorset, Poole   Keith Clover
 Region D   Cornwall,  Devon, Isles of Scilly, Plymouth, Torbay  Jackie Eason
 South West Region NLG Network Project Manager   Across the region.  Julia Steward

Sub Regional :


 Sub Region 

 Regional Governance Lead   Teaching School Lead 
 A: Bristol, BANES, South Gloucestershire, Somerset and North Somerset  Geoff Mountjoy  Sian Kinder
 B: Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire  Keith Clover  James Passmore
 C:  Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth  Keith Clover  Fritz Penn-Barwell
 D: Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Plymouth, Devon and Torbay  Jackie Eason  Teresa Lawrance
 Project Manager  Julia Steward

 National TSC South West representative

Tony Bloxham