Chairs: how to work well with your headteacher/CEO

It's crucial that you and your head/CEO work together effectively. Learn how to build and maintain a good relationship.

Last reviewed on 6 September 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3853
  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. Don't exclude other governors
  6. Balance challenge and support

This article is based on the role of the chair of governors guidance published by the National College of Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) (now closed - although the advice is still relevant). We also got advice from our governance experts: Alice Maynard, Kate Foale and Leon Ward.

The benefits of a strong working relationship

A good relationship that's clear to all colleagues will:

  • Allow you to work well together, prioritising the best interests of your school
  • Encourage a culture of openness, support and challenge throughout your school 
  • Allow you to act as a critical friend, offering challenge and support
  • Help everyone to recognise the role of the governing board in your school's leadership

Understand each other's roles

Be clear on the difference between your role as leader of the board, and your headteacher's role as leader of the operational team. 

It's fine to express your view about how the headteacher could implement a board