Who Are School Governors And What Do They Do?
Have you ever wondered about the role of school governors and what happens during school governor body meetings?
School governors are unpaid volunteers who hold headteachers to account and ensure that schools are meeting their strategic objectives. Governors do not manage the operational day-to-day functions of a school, but are required to oversee its long-term development.
Anyone can be a school governor, as long as you are over 18 and show an interest in the school, what is happening in education and the local community. You should also have enough time to attend governing body meetings and fully commit to the role.
Most governing bodies consist of a diverse range of people who bring a variety of skills to the role. These include marketing executives, charity workers, retirees, university graduates to dentists. School governing bodies will often consist of the following people:
School governing bodies set a school’s aims, review its policies and ensure a clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. Broadly, the responsibilities of a governing body sit under three functions:
As part of the governing body team, a governor will be expected to:
The majority of governing bodies will have a committee structure to ensure tasks are split between governor’s areas of expertise.
The committees will each have a key area of focus on the school’s operations and performance. Membership and terms of reference of committees are determined annually.
Committees often have different names from school to school. Examples of committees in governing bodies include:
The committees also monitor the school’s delivery of statutory requirements in regards to the education and well-being of pupils and the management of staff and resources.
The focus of their activities each year is on the progress made towards specific strategic goals which will be set out in the school’s development plan. Committee meetings will also be much more frequent than the wider whole school governing body meeting which typically take place once a term.
All the governors at the school will meet together, often during evenings in term time, for a whole school governing body meeting. An agenda and minutes from the previous meeting will be sent out in advance. There will be a Chair who has responsibility for making the meeting run effectively and making sure all governors can voice their opinions.
The headteacher will often start by providing a report covering issues such as attendance, behavioural attendance and pupil attainment and progression data for the previous term.
The chairs of the different committees will also provide a summary of what was covered in their meetings. Governors will have the chance to question the headteacher and deputy headteacher and discuss the strategic direction and the school development plan
There will be a clerk who will be producing minutes of the meeting. The clerk is the ‘constitutional conscience’ of the governing body and provides advice on procedural and legal requirements.
There will also be a section at the end of the meeting for confidential matters arising. Topics which could be raised during this section include specific details on pupil exclusions and staffing matters.