The role of the Governing Body is to:
work in partnership with the school to ensure it gives every child the opportunity to achieve their full potential. They do this by supporting the school’s decision making, and also by holding the school to account.
The scope of the powers and duties of the Governing Body include:
Staffing and performance
Target setting and standards
Admissions, Discipline and exclusions Policy
The Full Governing Body consists of all Governors and meets once every term, or 6 times a year.
The Governing Body organises itself into various committees to focus on specific topics. These committees include:
Pupil Support and Standards
In this committee we look at the whole school experience of the children. As well as their learning experience we look at the pastoral care that they receive and the overall school experience including clubs and trips. Our aim as Governors is to ensure that every child has a rich school experience. Within that we monitor attainment levels, to make sure that children are making progress towards their targets and we also look at how learning can be made more interesting. We visit the school to observe the work that is being done and to check that we comply with the government rules on what has to be taught. It also oversees recruitment to ensure that we have sufficient well qualified staff to teach the children and ensures the safeguarding of our children, by monitoring the recording of Criminal Record Bureau checks on all staff and volunteers who come into contact with pupils. We also look at the staffing structure of the school and monitor wellbeing of staff and pupils.
Finance, Resources and Premises
This committee deals with the money that is received from the local authority and government. A budget is produced for approval by the full governing body and then expenditure throughout the year has to be monitored to make sure that we do not spend more than we receive. This committee also ensures that the school complies with the local authority’s financial regulations. We are responsible for the quality of the school premises and learning environment for both pupils and staff. We also have responsibility for ensuring that the new building work that is planned over the next year is carried out safely, on budget and within the required timescaleMembers include:
There are also additional meetings throughout the year for the Safe Guarding Committee.
What do Governors actually do?
If you've ever wondered what Governors do all day, below are various Governors, describing what might be a typical day for them in those roles.
Day in the Life of the Chair of Governors
Friday is always a busy day me. On Friday morning I have a regular meeting with our Headteacher which is called a Critical Friend meeting.
When I arrive in school at around 9.30 I usually grab a few minutes with the School Business Manager (Carrie Stone) as she is also our Clerk to the Governors. We may discuss an agenda for a forthcoming meeting or some information that needs to be circulated to all governors. If there are committee meetings due I will check the agendas with the three chairs of committees to ensure that if there is any overlap it has a purpose.
For Full Governing Body meetings The Clerk to Governors and I go through the minutes of the committees to see what needs to be included on the main meeting agenda and then we will have a discussion with the Head teacher to make sure that we have covered any items he wants to include.
Then the Critical Friend meeting gets under way. This is an opportunity for the Headteacher to share any special issues that have occurred and for me to review, on behalf of governors, the work that has gone on in the past seven days. We discuss new ideas as well as going over well worn areas that take time to resolve.
The topics are wide ranging as being a Chair of Governors is like being the chair of a small business company. So we will cover Finance, Staff welfare, Health & Safety and Premises, but because we are a school we also need to ensure that we give sufficient time to the main point of our business which is ensuring that every child receives the best possible experience of education. Standards are a main talking point whenever governors get together with staff and we are determined to raise them as high as possible over the next few years.
The Critical Friend meeting can last between one and a half and two and a half hours and we cover an awful lot of ground in that time. It is not the only time that the head teacher and I communicate as we use emails to keep in touch. Some Fridays I have lunch in school with the children so that I see what the standard of food is like and get the real bonus of talking to the children as well.
Then it is home to pick up emails and finish off any agendas and papers that are needed for the next meetings. I try to send out papers and agendas by emails on Friday afternoons as many governors use their work email addresses. We have a great group of governors who work together and separately on different aspects of our work and I need to keep up to date with everything that is going on. Planning is something I tend to do when I am ironing as it gives me lots of time for thinking!