New governance guides replace the Governance Handbook

There are no new requirements for governors or trustees, but get up to speed on the new format for DfE governance guidance.

Last reviewed on 7 March 2024
Ref: 44463

The Department for Education (DfE) has published 2 new governance guides, to replace the Governance Handbook:

There are no new requirements for governors or trustees, so your board doesn't need to do anything right now, except to:

  • Make sure everyone on your board is aware of, and can access, the right guide for your school type
  • Remove any copies of, or reference to, the previous Governance Handbook in your board's files and documents

The DfE has withdrawn the following documents:

  • Governance Handbook
  • Competency Framework for Governance
  • Clerking Competency Framework
  • Governance Structures and Roles
  • Statutory Policies for Schools and Academy Trusts

Much of the information in those documents is now covered in the new governance guides.

The Academy Trust Governance Guide looks and feels quite different from the previous Governance Handbook. This is because it draws heavily on guidance from the Academy Trust Handbook and the trust quality descriptions from the Commissioning High-Quality Trusts guidance. So, don't worry, there are no policy changes here – the new guide just reflects changes already made for academy trusts since the Governance Handbook was last revised.

Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts

The list of statutory policies that schools and academies must have, has now been incorporated into the relevant governance guides. Non-statutory policies are not included.

Boards remain accountable for these documents, and the policies and procedures contained within them.

Next steps

We're speaking with the DfE to clarify some of the detail on the statutory policy list in the new guides, and we'll update our statutory policies article with any updates as soon as we can.

We're also working on a more detailed summary of the new governance guides.

Select 'save for later' at the top of this article to be notified when this is ready. 

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