Last reviewed on 15 June 2020
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 36931

Find out who your executive leaders are, what it means to hold them to account, and how to do it in practice through monitoring your school, asking challenging questions and performance managing your headteacher.

Who are the 'executive leaders'?

These are the people "held to account by the board for the performance of the organisation" (governance handbook, page 7).

Depending on your school type (e.g. academy or maintained school) and leadership structure, the executive leaders might include:

  • CEO
  • Executive headteacher
  • Headteacher
  • Principal
  • Other senior staff as set out by your school

What does it mean to 'hold them to account'?

You've probably already heard that governors focus on the 'strategic,' while school leaders focus on the 'operational.' We've got an article dedicated to the distinction between these 2 things, but within the context of this article:

  • Executive leaders make decisions about day-to-day operations, and governors evaluate how effectively leaders have exercised their professional judgement
  • Executive leaders decide how to spend the budget, and governors review whether the school has achieved value for money
  • Executive leaders manage individual staff members, and governors assess staff's performance as a whole

The governing board as a whole, though monitoring activities