Chair of Governors Mrs Jane Owens
Headteacher Mr Neil Dyment
Information for Prospective Governors
Every school has a Governing Body which could consist of between 9 and 20 people depending on the size of the school.
The term of office of a Governor is four years, but there is nothing to stop them resigning within that four years. It is estimated that it can take a couple of years to fully get to know the job and therefore 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.
- The Headteacher can choose whether or not to be a Governor at their school
- Parent Governors have a child at the school and are elected by other parents.
- Staff Governors are either teachers or support staff at the school and are elected by their colleagues.
- Community 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.
- Foundation Governors are appointed by the Church or Trust which supports the school.
- 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 Governing Body Committees and attend Full Governing Body meetings. The definition of Associate Member is wide and pupils, school staff and people who want to contribute specifically on issues related to their area of expertise (for instance finance, building, health and safety) can be appointed. Note: Associate Members are not Governors.
Why do schools need Governors?
Every school has a Governing Body to represent the public in the running of schools. They support the Headteacher and staff and they are accountable to their stakeholders for the school's overall performance and for decisions they have made.
They have a strategic role to promote high standards of educational achievement, ensuring that adequate plans are made and legal obligations are met. Appropriate targets should be set for pupil achievement at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.
They ensure that the curriculum for the school is balanced and broadly based, and in particular that it includes the National Curriculum, Religious Education and (in secondary schools) sex education. They report National Curriculum assessments and results to parents, the LA and the Department of Education.
They manage the school's budget, including determining the staff complement and making 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 pupils with Special Educational Needs.
They provide guidance on the direction and character of the school.
A good Governing Body will therefore –
- 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.
What you do need is: enthusiasm; 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 agreeing to serve 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 to look at specific areas of work, e.g. Finance, Premises, Curriculum. The committees make decisions on behalf of the Governing Body, or recommendations depending on their terms of reference.
Most of the statutory termly meetings are held during the evening, but committees may meet in the day or evening.
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.
As a means of continued support a termly newsletter is produced for Governors. This provides topical information and details of forthcoming training are also included.
There is a resource library based at the Professional Excellence Centre where school Governors can borrow books/videos/newsletters.
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 the Governor Support Service and good communication with Governors and prospective Governors is vital. Governors are often described as the largest volunteer army in the land – around 350,000.
The Governor Support Service holds an annual recruitment drive, and on receipt of applications received from prospective Governors this enables local schools to fill any vacancies they may have on their Governing Body. The service works closely with the School Governors One Stop Shop (SGOSS).
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.
- draw up an action plan following an Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) report;
- produce policies on a number of issues including Sex Education, S.E.N;
- 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 & 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.