Sarah Chung

Doctoral Researcher 

Research Topic

Primary school governor training: exploring the fitness for purpose of the content and mode of delivery in England

Research summary

School governance has clearly moved away from the initial concept of well-meaning volunteers who ‘managed’ schools.  With the ‘stake-holder’ model of governance, filled by ‘well-meaning’ but ultimately untrained volunteers, being condemned by prominent government figures, governing bodies have been heavily encouraged to develop themselves through placing skilled professionals at the core of the governing body.  The move towards a skills-based model of governance, in conjunction with the increased autonomy of schools and amplified powers for governing bodies, raises questions of whether or not a governing body can rely solely on governors who have been deemed to have the most appropriate skillset, or whether additional training would still be required. 

It is the intention of this research to explore the type of governing training currently available and the role it plays in producing an effective governing body.

Research interests

  • School governance
  • Educational leadership
  • Teaching

Research Supervisors

Dr. Celia Greenway and Dr. Nicola Smith


  • BA (Hons) English and Archaeology (UWL) - 2000
  • PGDip Practical Archaeology (UoB) – 2002
  • PGCE – Primary (UWA) – 2004
  • MA (Distinction) School Improvement and Educational Leadership (2017)


Sarah qualified as a primary school teacher, specialising in English, in 2004. She has worked throughout Key Stages 1 & 2 as both a class-based teacher and supply.  After becoming a governing at her children’s school in 2015 she developed an interest in educational leadership and decided to pursue an MA in School Improvement and Educational Leadership at the University of Birmingham.  The MA supported her development as a governor and her later roles as Chair and Vice-Chair of governing bodies in the West Midlands.

In 2018 she was awarded a CoSS Scholarship and began her PhD journey within the School of Education, exploring the role of governor training.  During her second year (2019/20) she became a Westmere Scholar, supporting PGRs across the University of Birmingham.  Now in her third year, she has taken on the role of General Co-Editor of Ad Alta: The Birmingham Journal of Literature.

Conference Papers

  • Chung, S., (2017), ‘Are Governors Prepared?  The Effectiveness of Governor Training in England’, Gruzdeva, K. and Kotzee, B., School of Education Doctoral Research Conference 2017, University of Birmingham, 2017.




Twitter: @SarahCh75639764

Linkedin: sarah-chung-6a70a554