Governing boards without committees – the 'circle model'

Be clear on how this model is different, what you should focus on and what you can do to make it work.

Last reviewed on 27 September 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 5715
  1. What makes it different
  2. If you're making this change 
  3. Keep a consistent agenda for every meeting
  4. Set up working parties to tackle time-consuming problems
  5. Examples of the 'circle model' in practice

Our associate governance experts, Fred Birkett, Fiona Stagg and Ian Preston, helped us with this article.

What makes it different

The task of monitoring specific areas is usually assigned to committees. In the 'circle model', it's delegated to individuals or pairs instead.

Like all things, this model has its pros and cons.

If you're making this change 

Be clear about why you're doing it

It should be about keeping your board effective. For example, if you have a small number of governors, it might be more effective to not have committees. 

But, this model doesn’t work for everyone – some schools can be resistant to letting go of committees.

Without committees, it will fall to individual governors to have a detailed understanding of a specific area to then feedback to the board You need a clear agenda to keep you on track with what you should be doing