Governor training and development: role of the link governor

Understand what your role entails as a link governor for governor training, and learn how to monitor your board's development.

Last reviewed on 20 October 2023
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  1. Expectations of your board
  2. Your role and responsibilities
  3. How to monitor governor development 
  4. Access our on-demand online training 
The Department for Education (DfE) withdrew the Competency Framework for Governance on 7 March 2024.

Much of the information is now covered in the new governance guides for maintained schools and academies. Take a look at our summary for what you need to know about the changes.

We’re in the process of updating our articles to reflect the new guides. Select ‘save for later’ at the top of the page to be notified when this article has been updated.

Expectations of your board

Every governing board has a responsibility to evaluate its own effectiveness. This includes setting aside a budget for the training and development it needs to fill any skill gaps, including financial knowledge.

These expectations are outlined in the Governance Handbook (pages 43 and 44) and the Academy Trust Handbook (paragraphs 1.25 and 1.26). 

A governor should have specific responsibility for training and development

While it's not a statutory requirement, your board should consider giving "the vice-chair or another governor a specific responsibility for enabling every person to develop the skills they need to be effective".

This is recommended on page 44 of the Governance Handbook

The training link governor will monitor governor development in more detail and make sure it happens. 

Your role and responsibilities

Be the board's training specialist 

Your role is to help make sure every governor develops their skills so they can make a valuable and active contribution to the board.

You’ll likely: 

  • Help with the induction of new governors and recognise their skill gaps
  • Assess the training needs of the governing board as a whole and identify gaps, such as in finance or data
  • Identify the training needs of other link governors, such as Prevent training for the safeguarding link governor
  • Encourage governors to attend training courses and report back to the board what they’ve learned
  • Track attendance at training and development courses

Work closely with your chair 

The chair also has a key role in making sure everyone on the board builds their skills, knowledge and experience to create an effective team. 

They’ll want to make sure everyone participates in meetings and actively contributes their skills. You’ll work with them to make sure this happens through training and development opportunities. 

As you’ll be monitoring everyone’s development, you’re also likely to recognise when governors persistently don't participate in training or development opportunities. 

In this case, governors may be in breach of the board’s code of conduct, as laid out on page 44 of the Governance Handbook. You'd then need to have a discussion with the chair to see if any action needs to be taken (i.e. suspension).

How to monitor governor development 

Conduct a skills audit

Use our skills audit based on the Department for Education’s (DfE's) competency framework for governance to help you do this. 

This will help you get a better understanding of your board’s strengths and weaknesses. You'll then be able to identify where the board needs extra training and development.

Gather feedback from the board

Ask governors and the chair questions (either in a group discussion or questionnaire) to help you identify where they feel confident, and where they need further development and training. 

Use our article on governing board self-evaluation to help you with the process. It includes a list of key questions to ask.

You can use the feedback to set actions for improvement for the whole board, plus targets for individual governors. 

Access our on-demand online training 

Use our range of courses to help the governors or trustees on your board get to grips with their roles. They'll receive a certificate once they pass the final assessment, and the completed course will appear on their GovernorHub training record.

Invite all of your new governors to complete our comprehensive induction programmes for:

They can also take our safeguarding for governance training course to fulfil their statutory training requirement. Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2023 says governing boards and school proprietors should make sure all governors receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training at the point of induction.

Point your board's link governors and committees towards our other specific courses to boost their knowledge and confidence:


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