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National Leader of Governance (NLG)

NLGs are highly effective chairs of governors who use their skills and experience to support chairs of governors in other schools and academies.

They work to increase leadership capacity to help raise standards so that improvements can be sustained.

Governance Support

With the increased emphasis on the role of governors in the management of their schools the government has introduced a support mechanism designed to provide a critical friend for governing bodies. Whilst your local authority can provide backup, Linwood TSA can arrange for support to chairs of governors and their boards which is independent, impartial and delivered by an experienced NLG with a track record of success.

National leaders of governance (NLGs) are highly effective chairs of governors who support chairs of governors in other schools (maintained and academies). You can contact an NLG through us if you want to improve the leadership and performance of your school’s governing body. Linwood TSA can provide bespoke support from a highly experienced NLG, Graham Exon, depending on the type and level of support your governing body requires.

Typical activities include, but are not limited to:

  • external reviews of governance
  • coaching and mentoring
  • reviewing the responsibilities of the governing body
  • action planning
  • supporting academy conversion
  • advising on reviewing headteacher performance

Time commitment for you and your governors

An NLG will work directly with your school’s chair of governors. Their support can include:

  • phone calls
  • emails
  • face-to face meetings
  • attendance at governors meetings

The NLGs are very aware of the time commitment that governors already make and will try and arrange contact to suit the school being supported, so the time can be spent across full or partial days, during evenings or at weekends.


Graham Exon, National Leader of Governance

With some 20 years' experience in school governance, Graham has had significant involvement in both the maintained and independent sectors and is designated a National Leader of Governance. He is currently Chairman of the Governing Board at Talbot Heath Independent Girls School (ages 3 to 18) and chairs Bournemouth Schools' Forum. Graham is Chair of Bournemouth Septenary Trust, representing seven primary academies, having previously served as Chair of Governors at St Michael's Primary CE (VC) School, Bournemouth. He sits on admission appeal panels and is a member of the Strategic Board of Linwood Teaching School Alliance. He also works with the Portsmouth & Winchester Diocesan Board of Education as part of the Associate Education Staff (Governance) and is a Director of Portsmouth and Winchester Diocesan Academy Trust.

As an NLG, Graham frequently works with chairs of other schools in a mentoring or advisory capacity and undertakes External Reviews of Governance. He has also chaired Interim Academy Boards and worked with schools through academy conversion and sponsorship.

Following a successful career in banking Graham was appointed Chair of Bournemouth Churches Housing Association and has served as a non-executive director of a number of local companies. He has significant experience within senior management and of corporate governance. Graham has also acted as a consultant to boards and trustees on dispute resolution and business planning.

As a keen musician Graham is Director of Music for the Parish of St John with St Michael, Bournemouth.


Any costs will be negotiated between your school and Linwood TSA and will depend on the type and level of support that you require.

NLGs can be deployed to work:

  • with an Ofsted or local authority category, or who is at risk of going into one
  • in a newly formed federation or trust
  • where attainment is below floor standards
  • transition to academy status
  • where the chair of governors is new and the school is in challenging circumstances
  • where working practices for a chair, head teacher or leadership group need developing