Governing board committee structures: pick the right one for you

Be clear on the pros and cons of different committee structures so you can choose the right monitoring method for your board.

Last reviewed on 13 November 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 3693
  1. No committees
  2. Standing committees
  3. Working parties

No committees

Maintained school governing boards aren't required to have any committees. So some choose to operate without them – this is also known as the 'circle model'


  • It's easier for the chair and headteacher to maintain strategic control of the agenda and decision-making
  • There aren't specialisms – so everyone has a degree of proficiency across all areas of governance
  • All governors have access to information and reporting at the same time – this can avoid repetition and prevent mixed messages
  • It can promote teamwork among governors
  • Some decisions can only be made by the full governing board, so it may save discussion time
  • No committees means the chair and headteacher may be able to manage communications more effectively, especially if the school is going through significant change or crisis
  • There may be fewer meetings, so governor participation may improve
  • No need to agree terms of reference or committee membership

The chair and headteacher could have excessive influence