The two leading headteachers' associations have signed a pact with the body representing school governors, designed to reduce the "misunderstandings" that occur between school leaders and governing bodies.
The agreement establishes a set of "ground rules" to rein in governors who get too involved in the micro-management of schools, and heads who do not allow governors to do their jobs properly.
The pact comes just weeks before the Government is due to publish a review into the state of school governance, which will consider controversial proposals for smaller, more professional governing bodies.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Governors' Association came together to devise the agreement after concerns were raised on both sides about "misunderstandings" between school leaders and governors.
Key points of the agreement state that school leaders should not be micro- managed, and governors should concentrate only on "matters related to strategy and school effectiveness" and holding heads to account. They should not, it says, become involved in the day-to-day running of the school.
It also says heads should support and welcome visits from governors, who should book by appointment rather than turning up unannounced. School budgets, it says, should make allowance for governors' expenses. Governing bodies should also take responsibility for ensuring they are suitably trained for their role.
Judith Bennett, chair of the National Governors' Association, said: "This document will make a real difference to governance in schools. It makes plain the minimum expectations and should remove much ambiguity."
John Dunford, general secretary of the ASCL, added there was "considerable scope" for misunderstanding: "This agreement sets out clearly the way the relationship works for the school," he said.