Department for Education Resources

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The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England. We work to provide children’s services, education and skills training that ensures opportunity is equal for all, no matter background, family circumstances, or need.

At our heart, we are the department for realising potential. We enable children and learners to thrive, by protecting the vulnerable and ensuring the delivery of excellent standards of education, training and care. This helps realise everyone’s potential – and that powers our economy, strengthens society, and increases fairness.”

All new governors must read the Department for Education’s publication: Keeping Children Safe in Education. This is statutory guidance for schools and schools must have regard for it when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

The Department for Education publishes an annual Governance Handbook

This is a guide for:

  • governing boards in local-authority-maintained schools
  • boards of trustees in academies
  • others involved in school governance, such as sponsors, foundations and dioceses
  • organisations that help governing boards be more effective, such as governance training providers
  • anyone providing clerking services to a governing board

The ‘Governance Handbook’ explains:

  • governing boards’ roles and functions
  • their legal duties
  • where they can find support
  • the main features of effective governance

The DfE ‘Competency framework for governance sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that school and academy governing boards need to be effective.  This is made up of 16 competencies underpinned by a foundation of important principles and personal attributes.

  • It is based on the Nolan Principles – Seven Principles of Public Life
    • Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership
  • Describes how effective governance is underpinned by the following “7 C’s”
    • Committed, Confident, Curious, Challenging, Collaborative, Critical, Creative

The DfE ‘Clerking Competency Framework’ sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to provide professional clerking to school and academy governing boards.

The DfE ‘Statutory policies for schools’ page outlines the policies and other documents school governing boards are legally required to have and the DfE Constitution of Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools sets out the different types of governors and skills needed by governing boards.

Finally, the DfE publish a monthly update for all governors, with important news and communications relating to governance in maintained schools and academy trusts.


The education inspection framework sets out how Ofsted inspects maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and registered early years settings in England. It sets out the principles that apply to inspection, and the main judgements that inspectors make when carrying out inspections.

Ofsted Education Inspection Framework 2022

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