External Reviews of Governance

The Department for Education recommends that schools and trusts undertake external reviews of their governance arrangements regularly, but there is a moral reason for this, too - improving outcomes for children.

An External Review of Governance is a valuable improvement tool for any school governing board or academy trust.  A review explores and examines your board’s culture, structure and governing practice.  

We use the DfE's 2024 Governance guides (maintained and academies) to guide our review and to evidence our findings.  For Trusts, we also use the governance element of the Trust Quality Pillars 2023.

Shaping Governance has extensive experience in carrying out external reviews of governance for all school types and phases in maintained school governing boards, academy trust boards, and other boards such as charities, councils, and health and social care.

Why should you consider an External Review?

An External Review of Governance by Shaping Governance is a valuable improvement tool for any school governing board or academy trust. It will help you review and improve the quality, confidence, performance, and impact of your board and its decisions.  The DfE recommends that schools and trusts undertake periodic external reviews of their governance arrangements; at Shaping Governance, we recommend that in addition to this, reflection should be built into governance practice on a regular basis, whether this be through self-reflection or using the Shaping Governance annual programme.
So, why should you consider an External Review of Governance?
  • If you haven't had one before, an ERG is a great way to take stock, learn and set a plan for improvement.
  • If you have had significant changes to the school or board, including changes in membership or a new head or chair,
  • If you are concerned about your governance practice, which might not show up in any self-reflection activity

What will our External Reviews include?

Using our vast experience, all of our reviews include a document review, interviews with the governing/trust board and key stakeholders, including chairs of local governing boards, a development session to unpick our findings and using our growth-mindset approach to help you understand the board's strengths and where it needs to develop further.
This is followed by a comprehensive report and action plan, with a follow-up review 4-6 months later, during which we hold you accountable for implementing the improvements.
For Multi-Academy Trusts, we offer additional support for your local governing boards/academy committees through our board development session, the Shaping Governance Programme. This also helps you to take a trust-wide approach to supporting your local governors - and that all layers of governance as the best they can be.


"Shaping Governance had a massive impact on securing governors' knowledge and the skills needed to challenge school leaders effectively".

If you would like more information about how we can support your governance, please use the 'Contact Us' page.

"Through a rigorous and robust process, with the engagement of governance and senior leaders, Su was able to provide, at school and MAC level, a clear evaluation of how we can enhance performance and improve further.  Su also recognised the distinctive difference of our MAC with a Catholic dimension"

Romero Catholic Academy
'What an amazing addition Su Turner has been to our reflect and review process for school governance She brings a wealth of experience and is a patient facilitator who brings out the very best in our governing body... We start each academic year with our Shaping Governance review.'

Nikki Lawton, Head at Pebble Brook School
"Su’s approach is participative and guides Elected Members through what good corporate parenting looks like so that they can benchmark their approach. Elected Members are key to good corporate parenting and they leave the training programme understanding their role as a Corporate Parent and practical ways in which they can carry out the role effectively."

Dr Lee-Anne Farach, Medway Council
"We highly recommend Shaping Governance to other MACs or MATs that are looking to review their governance. It’s a very supportive and productive process. Su is incredibly professional. The process has exceeded our expectations.”

Local Government Association
"Su has an outstanding reputation in governance, health, and education, playing a key strategic role in enabling effective partnerships and positive outcomes for charities and public sector bodies throughout the UK. She is dynamic in her approach, working at the cutting edge of thinking at a regional and national level. Organisations in the public, private and charitable sectors would benefit from her insights and ability to bring people together to improve outcomes for their customers/clients."

Laura Murphy, Mtc2 Ltd