What do School Governors do?
The role of the school governor is demanding but very rewarding and is a good way for people to give something back to their local community. As we are part of Warrington Primary Academy Trust, we are known as the Local Governing Committee. We are responsible for working with the school to ensure that it delivers a high quality of education for all our children. Together with the head teacher, who is responsible for day-to-day management, and who is usually also a governor, we set the school’s aims and policies, ensuring that statutory responsibilities are met. The government regards school governors as a vital part of the leadership of their school. Our work is reported on in every school’s Ofsted inspection report.
The purpose of governance is to provide confident, strategic leadership and to create robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance.
The 3 core functions of the governing committee are:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction,
- Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff,
- Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent
The Governance Handbook (section 1.1).
With the Headteacher, the local governing committee works to ensure high standards of achievement for all children in school by:
1. Living by the guiding principle of the Academy Trust, owning our values of resilience, pioneering and putting the children first
2. Supporting the Headteacher and holding them to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
3. Overseeing curriculum provision as well as academic attainment
4. Overseeing the financial performance of the academy, feeding back to Trust and making sure its money is well spent
5. Monitoring of statutory and school level policies
6. Representing the view of the school and its stakeholders to the Trust
7. Scrutinising detailed information on pupil progress and attainment and, if necessary, challenging assumptions
8. Being aware of, and acting within our Trust’s strategic work-streams, forged from our schools, produced by analysing the outputs from the collective school improvement plans and MAT capacity framework document from each of the academies
9. Carrying out panel work when required
10. Contributing to the recruitment and performance management of staff.
In recent years, the Governing Committee has worked with the Headteacher and the staff to research thoroughly and make the decision to become an Academy and join Warrington Primary Trust for the benefit of our current and future children. We embrace the founding principle, “Together we forge our tomorrows,” together with the guiding principle, “To deliver a first-class education through partnership, innovation, school improvement and accountability,” together with the core values of children first, resilience and pioneering.
Developing the strength of our Senior Leadership Team has also been a recent priority and Governors were involved in the appointment of many of the key staff including the Deputy Headteacher, the School Business Manager and the Early Years Lead. We have also supported the school through a period of restructure to ensure financial stability and sustainability now and in the future.
In the current academic year, our priorities will centre around curriculum development and compensation for the negative impact of school closures on pupils because of the Covid pandemic. We continue to ensure that the school meets and exceeds the recommendations from our last Ofsted report.
Who can be a school governor?
Unless you wish to stand as a parent governor, it is not necessary to have children at the school to be a governor. However, you do have to be over 18, and complete a formal check for your suitability to be within a school. No specific qualifications are required of governors but there are certain expectations, which are generally specified in print. The governors’ Code of Conduct (on this website) states the expectations of governors at this school. What’s really important is that governors have energy, enthusiasm, time and a real desire to help to provide children with the best possible education.
Governors come from all sections of the community, and all walks of life. They can be parents, staff at the school, residents in the locality, representatives of local churches or businesses or committed people with particular skills. It is important that governors can work as part of a team, and can give commitment to the school. Ideally, they will have some form of particular competence or skill to offer to the Governing Committee, which will help it in its work.
The Governing Committee elects its Chair and Vice-Chair for an agreed period, usually between two and four years, which can be extended.
Term of office and meetings
The term of office for a school governor is normally four years, which can be extended when the period is up. At this school we hold Full Governing Committee Meetings every half term. In the first half of the term, the meeting’s main focus is on Finance, Personnel, Premises and Health and Safety. Standards and the Curriculum are the main features of the meeting in the second half of each term. Some governors take on special oversight duties, such as Early Years, Special Educational Needs, and Safeguarding for instance. This year we are also working within smaller groups to focus on a particular aspect of the school’s work. Most governors usually attend events or visit classes in the school within the academic year. They are also invited to special occasions such as assemblies, sports days, plays and presentations.
Induction for new school governors
New governors are invited to see the work of the school, without commitment, before deciding whether to sign up to the role. An induction course, offered by the Warrington Primary Academy Trust and the Borough Council helps to introduce them to the role. All Governors participate in on-line learning together with a range of courses and other learning opportunities to help them make a knowledgeable and positive difference to their governing role.
Established governors are also offered a range of training courses which can be booked via the school free of charge.
If you would like to become a Governor
The school regularly recruits parent governors to join the Governing Committee. If you would like to stand, please contact the school office.