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Emma Knights OBE

Chief Executive,
National Governance Association (NGA)

Emma Knights OBE is Chief Executive of the National Governance Association (NGA) - the leading charity for guidance, research, advice and training for school governors and trustees. Prior to her appointment in 2010 she was joint CEO of the Daycare Trust. Before that, she worked in a number of roles in the voluntary sector, particularly in the Legal Services Commission, Citizens Advice and the Local Government Association. As well as leading projects on child poverty and educational attainment, Emma has written on a wide range of topics and is co-author of the NGA’s Chair’s Handbook. Emma regularly addresses legislators and the media on governance issues, as well as school governors, trustees, clerks and school leaders. She was a governor at a secondary school in Warwickshire for 7 years. Follow Emma on Twitter @NGAMedia.

  • Evaluating the role of boards to ensure diverse trustees in terms of age, ethnicity, gender and experience
  • Assessing strategies to attract and retain trustees with corporate and financial management experience
  • Analysing the role of a robust skills audit and gap analysis in supporting effective competency based recruitment
  • Delivering an effective appointment and induction process to ensure governors understand their roles and responsibilities
  • Sharing lessons in how boards of trustees have recruited high quality candidates and the implications it has had on decision making and independent scrutiny of an academy

  • Analysing what constitutes good governance with an academy setting and discussing  effective methods of implementation
  • Ensuring academy boards are guided by ethical governance to deliver leadership which raises progress, attainment and meets the needs of all pupils
  • Sharing findings from the NGA diversity campaign ‘Everyone on Board’ and assessing how the underrepresentation of women, ethnic minorities and young people on governing boards can be addressed
  • Developing accountability and transparency structures which support school improvement and enhanced leadership