Strategic vs operational: practical examples

Governors and trustees set strategy and hold senior leaders to account – they don't get involved in the day-to-day running of the school or trust. Sometimes it's hard to walk this fine line, but our practical examples will help you clarify your role.

Last reviewed on 17 March 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 5140
  1. Policies
  2. Pupil premium
  3. Budgets
  4. Teacher pay
  5. Staff surveys
  6. Parent complaints
  7. Subject or departmental improvement plans
  8. School newsletter
  9. Introducing split-year groups
  10. Changing the way homework is given
  11. Health and safety inspections
  12. Monitoring the single central record (SCR)
  13. Remote learning



Your role (strategic)

You have an important role in contributing to the strategic direction of many policies, and in checking and approving some policies once they've been written.

You also can hold the senior leadership team (SLT) to account for how policies have been implemented, and whether they've been successful.

School leaders' role (operational)

The SLT will actually write and implement the policies – this isn't your role.

Read more in our article on governors' role in overseeing school policies.

Budgets Your role (strategic) You should scrutinise the budget (or each school's budget, if you're a trustee