We have created a document to explain the process of appointing and electing governors and how we, as a school, make sure our system is fair and transparent. Please click on the button underneath to read it.
Being a Governor can be a very rewarding and interesting role and can really help to shape your child’s education. Anyone over 18 can be a school governor – you don’t have to be a parent with a child at our school, however, every governing body includesparent governors, and it can be a rewarding way to be involved.
The most important qualities for being a governor are enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education. You don’t need teaching experience, but it’s useful to bring skills from other areas of your life. It can also be time-consuming.
If you’re interested in becoming a governor feel free to talk to the Headteacher, the Chair of Governors or another member of the governing body who will all be happy to tell you more about what is involved. When there’s a vacancy for a parent governor all parents will be informed, and you’ll have a chance to stand for election or on certain occasions be appointed to the post without elections.
At the bottom of this page you will find an extract from the governors handbook which outlines what being a governor is all about. You may also find these links below useful.
This is a link to the Government Website
This is the National Governors Association
Our Local Education Authority Site
Includes the Governor Handbook
And these are some other useful sites:
Handbook of Governors – extracts from first section
1.2 Governing bodies’ core functions
We have high expectations of governing bodies. They are the strategic leaders of our schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. For maintained schools this is reflected in the law, which states that the purpose of maintained school governing bodies is to ‘conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision,ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the
school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its
money is well spent.
This amounts to a demanding role for governing bodies. Evidence suggests that those that deliver it well do so by:
- understanding their strategic role – building a productive and supportive relationship with the headteacher while holding them to account for school performance and taking hard strategic decisions in the light of objective data;
- ensuring governors have the necessary skills and commitment, including to challenge the school to bring about improvement and hold leaders to account for performance;
- appointing an effective chair to lead and manage the governing body – guidance on the crucial role of the chair of governors, developed jointly with the National Governors’ Association (NGA), is available on the NCTL website;
- appointing a high quality clerk to advise them on the nature of their functions and duties and ensure the governing body operates efficiently and effectively;
- evaluating their performance regularly in the light of Ofsted expectations and other good practice and making changes as necessary to improve their effectiveness; and
- governing more than one school to develop a more strategic perspective and create more robust accountability through the ability to compare and contrast across schools.
Effective governing bodies also think carefully about how they are organised. This includes thinking about whether and how to use their powers to delegate functions and decisions to committees or individual governors. Governing bodies may decide to task individual governors to take an interest in a specific area, such as SEN, safeguarding or health and safety, but there is no legal requirement for either maintained schools or academies to do so. There are many different models and governing bodies are best placed to decide for themselves what will work best in their own circumstances. It is the overall governing body, however, that in all cases remains accountable in law and to Ofsted for the exercise of its functions. We expect every governing body to focus strongly on its core functions and to retain oversight of them.
It is essential that governing bodies recruit and develop governors with the skills to deliver their core functions effectively. However, it is equally important to emphasise that the skills required are those to oversee the success of the school, not to do the school’s job for it. For example, a governor with financial expertise should use their skills to scrutinise the school’s accounts, not to help prepare them. If a governor does possess skills that the school wishes to utilise on a pro bono basis, then it is important that this is considered voluntary work and not governance, and steps should be taken to ensure that this does not blur lines of accountability.
1.3 Setting vision, ethos and strategic direction
Governing bodies are the key strategic decision-making body of every school. It is their role to set the school’s strategic framework and to ensure all statutory duties are met.
The governing body should ensure that the school has a medium to long-term vision for its future – which it may be helpful to articulate in a specific written vision statement. The governing body should also ensure that there is a robust strategy in place for achieving its vision. This strategy should address the fundamental questions of where are we now, where do we want to be, and how are we going to get there. This includes considering the type of school which would offer the best opportunities for achieving future aims.
While it is essential to build a strong and cohesive non-executive team, the most robust governing bodies welcome and thrive on a having sufficiently diverse range of viewpoints such that open debate leads to good decisions in the interests of the whole school community.
1.4 Holding the headteacher to account
Governing bodies should work to support and strengthen the leadership of the headteacher, and hold them to account for the day-to-day running of the school, including the performance management of teachers. Governing bodies should play a strategic role, and avoid routine involvement in operational matters. It should focus strongly on holding the headteacher to account for exercising his/her professional judgement in these matters and all of their other duties.
However, since the governing body is responsible in law for the school, it may need to intervene in operational matters if a circumstance arises where, because of the actions or inactions of the headteacher, the school may be in breach of a duty if the governing body did not intervene. Having advised the governing body, the headteacher must comply with any reasonable direction given by it.
1.4.2 Asking the right questions
Effective governing bodies hold their headteacher and other senior school leaders to account for improving school performance by asking the right questions. This might include asking:
- Which groups of pupils are the highest and lowest performing, and why? Do you have credible plans for addressing underperformance or less than expected progress? How will we know that things are improving?
- Which year groups or subjects get the best and worst results and why? How does this relate to the quality of teaching across the school? What is your strategy for improving the areas of weakest performance?
- How are you going to raise standards for all children, including the most and least able, those with special educational needs, those receiving free school meals, boys and girls, those of a particular ethnicity, and any who are currently underachieving?
- Have your decisions been made with reference to external evidence, for example has the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit been used to determine Pupil Premium spending decisions? How will you know if your approach is working? Will the impact of decisions and interventions be monitored and supported, using appropriate tools such as the EEF DIY Evaluation Guide?
- Do we have the right staff and the right development and reward arrangements?
- What is the school’s approach to implementation of pay reform and performance related pay? If appropriate, is it compliant with the most up to date version of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document?
- Is this a happy school with a positive learning culture? What is our track record on attendance, behaviour and bullying? Are safeguarding procedures securely in place? What are you doing to address any current issues, and how we will know if it is working?
- How good is our wider offer to pupils? Is the school offering a good range of sports, arts and voluntary activities? Is school food healthy and popular?
- Do we listen to what pupils and parents are telling us?
1.4.3 The importance of objective data
Governing bodies must have good and timely data to help them to know the questions they need to ask and to provide answers to their questions.
Many governors may not be familiar with looking at and understanding data. There is a large volume of data available. It is essential that every governing body have at least one governor with the skills to understand and interpret the full detail of the financial and performance data available. These governors should make sure that the wider governing body has a correct understanding of the school’s performance and finances. They should identify from the data the issues that most need to be discussed. Other governors should learn from them and undertake any available training opportunities to improve their confidence and skills in looking at data. While governing bodies may decide to establish a committee to look in detail at performance data, all governors should be able to engage fully with discussions about the performance of their school.
It is the headteacher’s job (and in maintained schools it is their legal duty4) to give governing bodies all the information they need to do their job well. This means they should help governing bodies access the data published by the department and Ofsted. They should also provide regularly whatever management information the governing body requires to monitor different aspects of life in the school throughout the year. In particular, governing bodies will need to see information relating to the priorities they have identified for improvement. This might include data on:
- pupil learning and progress;
- pupil applications, admissions, attendance and exclusions;
- staff absence, recruitment, retention, morale and performance; and
- the quality of teaching.
Governing bodies, not headteachers, should determine the scope and format of headteacher’s termly reports. This will mean that they receive the information they need in a format that enables them to stay focused on their core strategic functions and not get distracted or overwhelmed by information of secondary importance.
The headteacher and school should not be the only source of information for the governing body. That would make it hard to hold the headteacher to account properly. Governors need to make sure that at least once a year they see objective data from other sources so that they can feel empowered to ask pertinent and searching questions. Governing bodies can get annual performance data direct from a number of sources.
Through pre-arranged visits that have a clear focus, governors can see whether the school is implementing the policies and improvement plans they have signed off and how they are working in practice. Visits also provide an opportunity to talk with pupils, staff and parents to gather their views.
Governors are not inspectors and it is not their role to assess the quality or method of teaching or extent of learning. They are also not school managers and should make sure they do not interfere in the day-to-day running of the school. Both are the role of the headteacher. If governors wish to spend time within a classroom, they need to be very clear why they are doing so.
1.5 Overseeing financial performance
Governing bodies are responsible for making sure their school’s money is well spent. They should do this by making sure they have at least one governor with specific skills and experience of financial matters, and by asking questions such as:
- Are we allocating our resources in line with our strategic priorities?
- Are we making full use of all our assets and efficient use of all our financial
- Are other schools buying things cheaper or getting better results with less spending per pupil?
How can we get better value for money from our budget?
- We publish a range of financial information about maintained schools and academies. Governors can use this information to compare spending against that of similar schools. Benchmarking financial information in this way helps governors to question whether resources could be used more efficiently. For example:
- If the cost of energy seems high compared to similar schools, are there opportunities for investment in energy-saving devices to reduce the cost?
- If spend on learning resources seems high compared to similar schools, are there opportunities for collaborating with other local schools to bring costs down?
Financial requirements on academy trusts are set out in the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) ‘Academies Financial Handbook’ and in their funding agreement. Academies and their auditors should also read the ‘Academies Accounts Direction’, when preparing and auditing annual reports and financial statements.
There is a wide range of information sources and tools available to help schools secure the best value for money. Further guidance and links to organisations that are able to provide support, are available on GOV.UK.
1.7 Accountability of governing bodies
The government values every person who volunteers to help improve their school by being a governor. How well a governing body does its job has a real impact on the success of a school. Therefore, although they are made up of volunteers, governing bodies cannot afford to be amateur and must be accountable for their effectiveness.
Governors’ first line of accountability is to parents and the wider school and local community. They can use performance data from the Department and Ofsted to see how their school is doing.
Governors should be mindful that in exercising governing body functions, and as required in maintained schools by legislation7, they must act with integrity, objectivity and honesty and in the best interests of the school; and be open about the decisions they make and the actions they take and in particular should be prepared to explain their decisions and actions to interested parties.
Similarly, governors should be aware of and accept the seven principles of public life, as set out by Lord Nolan and applying to anyone, locally and nationally, who is elected or appointed as a public office-holder. They are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
In the interests of transparency, all schools and academies should publish, including on their website, up to date details of the structure of the governing body and any committees, together with the names of their governors and their particular roles and responsibilities within that structure. They should also publish an annual statement setting out the key issues that have been faced and addressed by the governing body over the last year, including an assessment of the impact of the governing body on the school. For academies, these details of their governance arrangements must also be provided within the governance statement of their published annual accounts.
Independent inspection plays a vital regulatory role and underpins the Department’s accountability framework for education. Ofsted is independent, impartial and aims to promote improvement in the schools it inspects and regulates. Every week Ofsted carries out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits and publishes the results on its website.
1.8.2 Support and training for governors
Governing bodies have a challenging job to do. High quality induction and continual professional development is vital to equip governors with the skills they need, but we do not think that it is for government to make training compulsory. Our focus is on the outcome of effectiveness, it is governing bodies that understand best the training and development needs of their governors.
Good governing bodies set out clearly what they expect of their governors, particularly when they first join the governing body. The governing body’s code of conduct should set an ethos of professionalism and high expectations of governors’ role, including an expectation that they undertake whatever training or development activity is needed to fill any gaps in the skills they have to contribute to effective governance. If a governor fails persistently to do this, then they will be in breach of the code of conduct and may bring the governing body or the office of a governor into disrepute – and as such provide grounds for the governing body to consider suspension.
Good governing bodies also carry out regular audits of governors’ skills in the light of the skills and competences they need, and actively seek to address any gaps they identify – through either recruitment or training. They have succession plans in place and develop future leaders by identifying and nurturing talent and sharing responsibility. It is for governing bodies to identify training and development opportunities and select those that meet their needs.