Chair of trustees: how to work effectively with your CEO

Get tips on how to develop a positive working relationship with your CEO so you can support your trust effectively.

Last reviewed on 15 May 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 40738
  1. The benefits of a strong working relationship
  2. Understand each other's roles
  3. Get to know each other
  4. Have regular catch-ups
  5. Keep other trustees in the loop
  6. Balance challenge and support

The benefits of a strong working relationship

A good relationship with your CEO will allow you to effectively:

  • Hold them to account
  • Monitor the performance of your trust
  • Help steer the trust towards its objectives

Understand each other's roles

For the relationship to be effective, the chair and CEO need to understand each other's roles and duties. 

Both you and your CEO are involved in your trust’s strategic planning. This can make the strategic/operational divide tricky, as your respective roles are not always clear.

As chair, you can act as a sounding board and provide effective support to the senior executive leader as long as that doesn't interfere with your responsibility to:

  • Provide constructive challenge to the senior executive leader and executive leadership team
  • Make decisions that are in the best interest of the trust

This is explained in section 5.2 of the academy trust governance guide.

This distinction can

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