School Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. The role of the governing body is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school. Time and time again Ofsted (the national inspection body for schools) has noted that the most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management – including by the governing body.

 

What do governors do?

The governors’ role is not about fundraising, neither it is about cheerleading for the school – though governors might do both those things. School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. Governors appoint the head teacher and are involved in the appointment of other staff. It is governors who hold the main responsibility for finance in schools, and it is governors who work with the head teacher to make the tough decisions about balancing resources.

Each individual governor is a member of a governing body, which is established in law as a corporate body. Individual governors may not act independently of the rest of the governing body. Decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing body.

The role of the governing body is a strategic one; its key functions are to:

  • set the aims and objectives for the school
  • set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
  • monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
  • managing the school’s finances
  • making sure the curriculum is balanced and broadly based
  • be a source of challenge and support to the headteacher (a critical friend)

The headteacher is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school and the implementation of the strategic framework established by the governing body.

 

Find out more about the role of the school governor

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 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’ Statutory Responsibilities

As part of the preparation for an Ofsted Inspection Governing Bodies are asked to complete an audit of responsibilities and are required to indicate whether each of the following are fully in place, partly in place or not in place. (If it is not fully in place an explanation “why not” and what action is being taken is required):-

 

The Curriculum

  • Every learner receives the full statutory curriculum that the school must provide.
  • The school provides teaching of religious education for all learners in accordance with the agreed syllabus or otherwise and has told parents of their right to withdraw their children.
  • Where the provider is a school, it provides a daily act of collective worship for all learners (in special schools as far as is practicable) and has told parents of their rights to withdraw their children.
  • (Schools with learners of primary age) The governing body has decided whether or not to provide sex and relationships education and if doing so, has agreed the content and organisation of the programme and has told parents about it and the right to withdraw their children.
  • (Schools with learners of secondary age) The governing body has agreed the content and organisation of its programme of sex and relationships education and has told parents about it and their right to withdraw their children.

 

Equality

  • The governing body ensures that the provider does not discriminate unlawfully against learners, job applicants or staff on the grounds of sex, race, disability or marital status.
  • The governing body has agreed a written policy on race equality, has arrangements to monitor its implementation and assess its impact on staff, learners and parents, and communicates the results of the monitoring and assessments of impact to parents and the governing body.
  • The school meets the requirements of the general duty and the specific duties in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Commission for Racial equality (CRE) code of practice.

 

Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities

  • The school has regard to the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice when meeting learners’ learning difficulties and/or disabilities and makes its policy known to parents.
  • The school meets the requirements of the Special Educational needs and Disability Act 2001. It has told parents about its policy and arrangements and reports annually on the success of its SEN policy and the progress made in improving accessibility.

 

Learners’ Care and Wellbeing

  • The governing body has procedures for ensuring the provider meets all relevant health and safety legislation.
  • The provider’s procedures for child protection follow the requirements of the local Area Child Protection Committee, and the governing body ensures that these are followed.

 

Informing Parents/Guardians

  • The governing body ensures that all statutory assessments are conducted and results are forwarded to parents/guardians and appropriate bodies.
  • The governing body (of maintained schools only) ensures that each year a report on learners educational achievements is forwarded to their parents/guardians.
  • The school keeps parents and prospective parents informed by publishing a school profile in accordance with Regulations (subject to the Education Bill 2005)

 

Leadership and Management

  • The responsibilities of the governing body, its committees, the headteacher and staff in respect of finances are clearly defined and limits of delegated authority are delineated.
  • The governing body has a performance management policy and ensures that all teachers, including the headteacher, are appraised in accordance with statutory requirements.
  • The governing body has all relevant complaints and appeals procedures, as set out in the DfES guide to the law for school governors.
  • The governing body operates recruitment and selection procedures that meet the recommendations in the Secretary of State’s guidance.
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