The Structure and Remit of the Governing Board
The governing board is the key strategic decision-making body of the school. Its role is to set the school’s strategic framework and to ensure all statutory duties are met.
Governors are unpaid volunteers who have been appointed or elected on the basis of the skills they contribute to the board. The governing body has adopted the National Governors’ Association (NGA’s) Code of Conduct which can be found here.
The Governing Board has three core functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its students and the performance management of staff
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent. Governors are also responsible for overseeing the school’s finances, checking that resources are being managed well and helping with the appointment of staff.
The governing board strives to:
- Appoint the right people with the necessary skills, time and commitment and sufficient diversity of perspectives to ensure internal challenge
- Ensure that all governors actively contribute in line with clearly defined roles and responsibilities under effective chairmanship
- Ensure that all governors abide by an explicit code of conduct
- Provide training and development opportunities for all governors to ensure active succession planning
- Develop clear governance structures with tightly defined remits, particularly in relation to functions delegated to committees or other bodies
- Establish clear separation between the strategic and operational in terms of the role of the board and its school leaders
- Foster a positive relationship between the board and its school leaders enabling robust constructive challenge on the basis of a good understanding of objective data particularly on student progress, staff performance and finances
- Respect the support and advice of their independent and professional clerk
- Implement robust processes for financial and business planning and oversight and effective controls for compliance, propriety and value for money
- Implement processes for regular self-evaluation, review and improvement including skills audits, training and development plans and independent external reviews as necessary.
As a governing board we hold the Headteacher and other senior school leaders to account for improving student and staff performance by asking the right questions. It is essential that we are all familiar with specific data about our school to help inform these questions.
The sorts of questions we might ask about student performance and achievement might include:
- Which groups of pupils are the highest and lowest performing, and why?
- Do senior leaders have credible plans for addressing under-performance or less than expected progress?
- How will we know that things are improving?
- How is the school going to raise standards for all children, including the most and least able, those with special educational needs, those receiving free school meals, boys and girls, those of a particular ethnicity, and any who are currently underachieving?
- Which year groups or subjects get the best and worst results and why? How does this relate to the quality of teaching across the school? What is the strategy for improving the areas of weakest performance?
- Is the school adequately engaged with the world of work and preparing students for adult life, including knowing where students go when they leave school?
- How is the school ensuring that it keeps students safe from and builds their resilience to, the risks of extremism and radicalisation? What arrangements are in place to ensure that staff understand and are implementing the Prevent duty?
- Are senior leaders getting appropriate continuous professional development?
- Does the school have the right staff and the right development and reward arrangements? What is the school’s approach to implementation of pay reform and performance related pay?
- How is the school planning to ensure it continues to have the right staff?
- Have decisions been made with reference to external evidence, for example, has the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit been used to determine Pupil Premium spending decisions? How will the board know if current approaches are working and how will the impact of decisions and interventions be monitored using appropriate tools such as the EEF DIY Evaluation Guide?
- Are teachers and support staff being used as effectively and efficiently as possible and in line with evidence and guidance?
- To what extent is this a happy school with a positive learning culture? What is the school’s record on attendance, behaviour and bullying? Are safeguarding procedures securely in place? What is being done to address any current issues and how will it know if it is working?
- How good is the school’s wider offer to students? Is the school offering a good range of sports, arts and voluntary activities? Is school food healthy and popular?
- Is the school encouraging the development of healthy, active lifestyles?
- How effectively does the school listen to the views of students and parents?
All governors should ideally have a basic understanding of the financial cycle and the legal requirements of the school on accountability and spend. As governors we not only oversee the delivery of the best possible education for students but also provide robust corporate governance to ensure the viability and efficiency of the school through effective business and financial planning. Asking the right questions is equally important in relation to money as it is to educational performance. Questions we may ask might include:
Are resources allocated in line with the school’s strategic priorities?
- Does the school have a clear budget forecast for the next three years, which identifies spending opportunities and risks and sets how these will be mitigated?
- Does the school have sufficient reserves to cover major changes such as restructuring, and any risks identified in the budget forecast?
- Is the school making best use of its budget, including in relation to planning and delivery of the curriculum?
- Is the school spending its money in accordance with its priorities?
- Are the school’s assets and financial resources being used efficiently?
- How can better value for money be achieved from the budget?
The governing board takes governor training very seriously indeed, believing it to be the responsibility of all governors to develop their knowledge and understanding. We believe it is essential that all members of the board have the skills to understand and interpret the full detail of the school’s educational performance and financial data in order to have a thorough understanding of priorities and challenges. It is the duty of governors to identify from the data the issues that need to be discussed and addressed. Less experienced governors are expected to learn from those more experienced and undertake any available training opportunities to improve their confidence and skills in looking at data. All governors are expected to be able to engage fully with discussions about data in relation to the educational and financial performance of the school. If they cannot, the Chair of Governors will ask them to undertake appropriate training or development to enable them to do so.
The governing board consists of 11 members and all governors have a 4-year term of office apart from the Headteacher who remains on the board as long as they are in post:
- 1 Local Authority representative
- 1 Headteacher
- 1 staff governor
- 2 parent governors
- up to 6 co-opted governors
The governing board has three committees. Governors are expected to attend all meetings so that they are fully up to date with all school matters:
- Finance & Resources
- School Improvement
From time to time working parties or sub committees may be formed to deal with short term matters; authority may be delegated from the governing board to these sub committees to make decisions on behalf of the full board.
The minutes from governing board meetings are available from the school upon request. Decisions are recorded but individual voting records are not as the governing board acts as a corporate body in law.