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. School governing bodies are responsible for working with the school to ensure that it delivers a high quality of education.Together with the head teacher, who is responsible for day-to-day management, and who is usually also a governor, they set the school’s aims and policies. The government regards school governors as a vital part of the leadership of their school. Their 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 body 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)
Governors also carry out some other specific duties, which include:
- Setting and monitoring the school’s Development Plan and policies,
- Appointing the Head and staff,
- Forming policy on the school’s curriculum,
- Setting standards for pupils’ behaviour and discipline,
- Making sure school buildings are welcoming and safe,
- Hearing appeals and grievances,
- Representing the interests of the school’s local community.
Who can be a school governor?
You don’t have 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 Body, which will help it in its work.
The Governing Body elects its Chair and Vice-Chair for an agreed period, usually between 2 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. Our school holds a full governing body meeting once every half term for about 2 hours. There are also committees of governors, which usually meet once a term, for between an hour and two hours. At this school there are the Pay Committee and the Headteacher Performance Management Committee. All governors take on special oversight duties, such as Early Years, Special Educational Needs, Pupil Premium, Health and Safety and Curriculum areas for instance. This involves meeting the member of staff responsible for this area and talking through their plans for the year. 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 get to see the work of the school, without commitment, before deciding whether to sign up to the role. They are strongly invited to attend, a free of charge induction course, offered by the Borough Council. This is designed to help them to make a positive difference to their governing body. There is also access to online learning for governors who can’t attend face to face training, or would like to refresh their knowledge after attending a course.
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 Body. If you would like to stand, please contact the school office.