This page explains the governing and leadership structures in Education.

There are lots of different types of schools in the Education landscape in Bristol but there are structures that are the same regardless of what type of school you are.  In your schools you will have a Governing Board, Trustees or a Management Committee who acts as a governing board for your setting.  You should also have a Senior Leadership Team who will work as your decision making group.  The information below outlines the structures for governing and leadership locally in Bristol.

Local Governing Boards

In Bristol there are several governing boards that make decisions about planning, commissioning and delivery of services.  In Bristol the main governing boards concerning schools are:

Local Decision Making Groups

These are the groups which come together to make decisions that fit in with their responsibilities and the strategies they work to.  In Bristol, the decision making groups that are important to children & young people with SEND and Schools are:

Schools Forum

The Schools Forum is a statutory body comprised mainly of headteachers and governors from Bristol. It usually meets once a (new) term and is independent of Bristol City Council, but supported by it.  It considers proposals drawn up by the council to allocate the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

Find out more about Schools Forum.

SEND Challenge Group

The SEND Challenge Group is a sub group of the Children and Families Partnership Board.  The group is comprised of a mixture of senior leaders from Education, Health and Social Care.  There is also representation from Parents/Carers, voluntary sector and young people (developing).  This group sets out the SEND Vision and development plans for SEND services in Bristol.

Find out about the SEND Vision and SEND Challenge Group.

Local Reference and Advisory Groups

Sometimes decision making groups need reference or advisory groups to help them make the best decisions. Below is information about the reference groups for Schools Forum and the SEND Challenge Group.

Inclusion Reference Group

This group makes recommendations to Schools Forum on certain issues regarding SEND.  It is a group made up of representation from schools (Headteachers and SENCOs) and is supported by the Local Authority.  The Inclusion Reference Group also has 3 working groups:

  • Access Strategy Working Group,
  • SEN Support and High Needs Block Group (Top Up) Working Group,
  • SEND Inclusion Audit Working Group.

SEND Stakeholder Group

This group makes recommendations to the SEND Challenge Group.  It is a group made of representation from various stakeholders interested in the development of SEND services.  It includes representation from Schools.


This page has information for residents in the City of Bristol.  Find out about what other Local Authorities do.

Last Updated 3 May 2017 by SENDop

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