GovernorHub has just launched an updated personal profile page for so that boards can collect additional information about their members to meet new DfE guidance on collecting and publishing diversity data.
The voluntary questions are based on the 2021 Census to allow for local and national comparisons, and so that GovernorHub can support the wider sector by mapping the diversity of school and trust governing boards across England.
This isn't about penalising individual governing boards; however the Department for Education's recently updated guidance states that, 'Diversity is important and we want governing boards to be increasingly reflective of the communities they serve.'
Once there is more clarity from the DfE, GovernorHub says it will allow admins to download an anonymised report for their board to share with their local community and more widely. The information is being collected on the basis of consent and can be withdrawn at any time.
Board diversity is about having a range of voices and experiences present around the governing board table, because all children need and deserve representation – especially in their schools. Diversity of thought is also essential for board effectiveness.
In its governance handbook, The DfE states: "It is important that boards reflect the diversity of the school/trust communities that they serve. Consideration should be given to all the protected characteristics. Diverse boards promote inclusive school environments and provide diverse role models for staff and young people.”
GovernorHub conducted a survey and published a report in 2022, The Missing Pool of Talent on School Governing Boards, which found that, among those surveyed, governors and trustees were typically older (35+), white and more educated. Governors themselves also reported that while their boards were diverse in terms of gender, they were much less so for age, ethnicity, social class and disability. This backed up similar findings from the National Governance Association's 2021 report, Increasing Participation in School and Trust Governance.
The lack of diversity in governance isn't a new problem. And yet despite all the time, research and initiatives dedicated to this, too many boards still struggle to reflect the true diversity in their communities or the wider population.
It's hoped that by collecting and reporting this information, boards will become more aware of this issue and better able to support underrepresented groups to take their seat at the table.
You can read more about the Department for Education's updated guidance to boards on collecting and publishing diversity data here:
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