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The Governors' Role

School governors are drawn from different parts of the community and can be parents and staff or from the LA, the community and other groups. This helps ensure the governing body has sufficient diversity of skills, views and experience but does not mean governors of a particular category represent that group on the governing body. For example, parent governors do not represent the parents at the school and do not report back to them.

 

Governors 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 such as ours 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:

 

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

 

When a school is inspected by Ofsted, its governing body will be required to show evidence that governors conform with their three core functions

 

In the work that they do, a governor’s essential focus is on:

 

  • Setting vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the headteacher and school management to account
  • Asking the right questions
  • Being aware of the importance of objective data and their sources
  • Overseeing financial performance
  • Setting policies, targets and priorities for achieving those objectives
  • Monitoring performance and progress towards those objectives
  • Reviewing achievements against the set aims and objectives
  • Enabling better governance through training, review and planning

 

Another aspect of the governors’ role has traditionally been referred to as being a ‘critical friend’ of the school whereby in addition to the duties laid out above governors can and should also:

 

  • Offer support
  • Provide constructive advice
  • Act as a sounding board - for the headteacher’s ideas
  • Give a second opinion on proposals - which includes asking questions and challenging assumptions
  • Help in arriving at the best solution - to further the best interests of the school

 

The list below (which of course is not exhaustive) is a further example of the role of the governor and which shows that the role focuses not on the operational aspects of how the school is run day-to-day – that is the head teacher’s responsibility – but on the strategic direction of the school.

 

Governing bodies do:

Governing bodies don’t:

Set the overall budget for the school

Inspect the school

Decide on the level of pay for the school’s teachers

After visiting the school, report back on the quality of teaching

Decide on the number of staff

Authorise all expenditure

Help to decide the priorities for improving the school when the school improvement plan is being drawn up

Decide on how pupils are taught different subjects

Ensure the National Curriculum is taught to all pupils

Have the right to exclude a pupil

Set targets for pupil achievement

Write the school’s policies on their own

Compare the performance of their school to similar schools

‘Rubber stamp’ recommendations from the head teacher

Receive information about the quality of teaching in the school

Automatically approve all apologies sent by governors

Have a published strategy for dealing with parental complaints and concerns

Write the OfSTED Action Plan

Ensure health and safety issues are addressed

 

Set the times of school sessions

 

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