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General Information and an Introduction to Governance

General Information and an Introduction to Governance

Every school has a Governing Body which could consist of between 9-20 people depending on the size of the school.  The term of office of a Governor is four years, although resignations can be made within that period.  It can take a couple of years to gain confidence and experience as a governor, so governors are encouraged to carry on for a further term of office if circumstances allow.  Many Governors in Wirral have been in office for longer than ten years.

Governing bodies usually consist of the Headteacher, elected staff and parents, people from the local community and, in certain types of schools, people appointed by the Church or foundation, also members of the LA.

 

  1. The Headteacher can choose whether or not to be a Governor at their school
  2. Parent Governors have a child at the school and are elected by the other parents
  3. Staff Governors are either teachers or support staff at the school and are elected by their colleagues
  4. Co-opted Governors are appointed by other Governors as representatives of the wider local community, as business representatives, or because of particular skills they can bring to the Governing Body.
  5. Foundation Governors are appointed by the Church or Trust which support the school.
  6. LA Governors are nominated by the Local Authority

 

In addition, one or two Sponsor Governors can be appointed by the Governing Body if they so wish.  Who is eligible? – You are eligible, if you give substantial assistance to the school, financially or in kind, or have provided services to the school.

 

The Governing Body can appoint Associate Members to serve on one or more committee and attend Full Governing Body meetings.  Note : Associate Members are not Governors.

Every school has a Governing Body to represent the public in the running of schools.  They support the Headteacher and staff and are accountable to their stakeholders for the school’s overall performance and for decisions they have made.

 

They have a strategic role to play in promoting standards of educational achievement, ensuring that adequate plans are made and legal obligations are met.  Appropriate targets should be set for pupil achievement and progress throughout the whole school.

 

The governors ensure that the curriculum is appropriate and balanced for the pupil population, including the National Curriculum, Religious Education and sex education.   They monitor assessment and results sent to parents, the LA and Department of Education as required.

 

They manage the school’s budget, including determining the staff complement and decisions on staff pay.  They appoint the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher and determine how the appointment of other staff will be managed.  They establish procedures for management of staff conduct, discipline and staff grievances.  They review, annually, a Performance Management Policy for staff appraisal. 

They draw up an Action Plan after an inspection.

 

They have duties to all the pupils in school who have various Special Educational Needs.

They provide guidance on the direction and character of the school.

A good Governing body would:

  • Take a strategic view
  • Be a ‘critical friend’
  • Ensure accountability

 

Do school Governors need qualifications?

Schools need volunteers (whether parents or not) with experience of life, but some Governors may have qualifications/professional skills.  Governors do not have to be educational experts.  They are there to provide an independent view and common sense approach.

Important requirements are ; energy, time, a willingness to be open to new ideas and attend basic training and good communication/interpersonal skills.

Being a Governor involves being committed and giving significant amounts of time and energy.  Careful consideration of these commitments should be made when considering serving on the Governing Body of a school.

 

How much time does a school Governor have to give?

This depends on what you are able to offer.  It also depends on the Governing Body that you join.  You will need time to attend at least one Governing Body meeting per term, this is a statutory requirement.

Most Governing Bodies have a number of Committees.  These are made up of at least 3-5 members and look at specific areas of work, eg. Finance, Premises, Curriculum.  The committees make decisions on behalf of the Governing Body, or recommendations depending on their terms of reference.  As you gain confidence in your role as a Governor you would be expected to join at least one committee.  They usually meet once or twice a term for most committees.

Advice and support is available for governors through ‘Key for Governors’.

Governors bring a range of experience and interests from many walks of life.  The Governing Body provides a sense of direction for the work of the school;  they work together with the Headteacher as a team and support the work of the school as a critical friend; to hold the school to account for the standards and quality of education it achieves.  Recruitment and retention of school Governors is a priority for every school and Local Authority.  Governors are often described as the largest volunteer army in the land – around 350,000.

Useful sites :

https://schoolgovernors.thekeysupport.com/

www.sgoss.org.uk

 

What does a Governing Body do?

Part of a school Governing Body’s responsibilities is to :

  • Promote high standards of educational attainment
  • Agree the School Improvement Plan
  • Set an annual budget detailing planned spending
  • Approve a staffing structure
  • Make sure that the curriculum is balanced and broadly based, in particular that the National Curriculum and Religious Education are taught, and report on pupils’ achievement in National Curriculum assessments and examination results (not always applicable within the Special sector)
  • Draw up an action plan following an Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) report
  • Produce policies on a number of issues including Sex Education, SEN
  • Appoint staff, ensuring the implementation of a range of personnel procedures
  • Secure high levels of attendance and good standards of pupil behaviour
  • Ensure the health and safety of pupils and staff
  • Develop the strategic plan for the school, acting as a critical friend and ensuring accountability
  • Deal with complaints against the school

 

Basically, Governors oversee the work of the school and make sure it provides a good quality education for its pupils.

Governors work in partnership with the Headteacher and staff.


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