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In collaboration with the National Governors Association, the National Audit Office has updated its well-received guide for school governors. The guide was first published in May 2006 alongside our value for money report on Improving poorly performing schools. It is intended to help both new and experienced primary and secondary school governors, as well as school leaders, identify and tackle the issues important to their schools’ organisation and performance.

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The refreshed guide has received Plain English Campaign’s Crystal Mark for clarity and provides up-to-date information, including findings from the NAO’s more recent work on education topics, of relevance to governors and school leaders. This work includes our reports on primary mathematics performance, the 14 to 19 curriculum, financial management in the schools’ sector, and the national school building and refurbishment programme.

The guide is divided into 13 themes. Each theme sets out: important questions for governing bodies; facts and figures that give an insight into what’s happening across the country; and sources of further information and good practice.

We and the National Governors’ Association hope that this guide is useful for you. We want to hear how useful you found it, so please send us your response electronically at

If you are unable to send a response electronically please send your written comments using the form on the last page. Please send filled-in forms to: Jonathan Mackay, National Audit Office, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, London, SW1W 9SP.