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The Role of the Governing Body

What does the Governing Body do?

Each school has a Governing Body, which consists of representatives from parent/carers, school staff and the local community. Governors monitor the work of the school by attending meetings, receiving reports, asking challenging questions and visiting to see the school in action.  This enables the Governing Body to fulfil its role as ‘critical friend’ to the school.


If you are interested in becoming a governor or finding out further information please speak to the Headteacher or a member of the Governing body.


How do we work?

The Governing Body works in partnership with the Headteacher as she is responsible for the day-to-day management of the school. Being a school governor means being part of a team that includes the Headteacher and other senior leaders.


The full Governing Body meets at least once each term.  There are also sub-committees which meet to discuss specific aspects of the school such as Teaching, Learning & Ethos, Resources and health & safety in more detail. Some governors are also appointed to link with particular areas, i.e. Special Educational Needs, Pupil Premium and Safeguarding


Because the power to make decisions or take action belongs to the Governing Body as a whole, no individual governor has the power to make decisions or take action on its behalf.


How are governors chosen?

There are several types of school governor, the makeup of each Governing Body (and the numbers of each category) depends on the size and type of school. At St Nicholas, our governing body has:


Two Parent governors: they are elected by parents of the children at the school – or they may be appointed by the Governing Body if no-one stands for election.

Four Community governors: local people appointed by the Governing Body.

One Staff governor: elected from among those who work at the school, including teaching, support and administration staff.

The Head Teacher of the school.

Four Foundation Governors: who are appointed by the Diocese.


What qualifications do governors need?

No particular qualifications or experience are needed.  The most important qualities for any governor are to be interested in the welfare of the children and the school and to be prepared to give their time and effort when required.  Governors are not expected to be experts in education, indeed many governors start by bringing skills relating to the commercial world and learn about the educational side as they go.


Realistically, how much time would be needed to do the work of a governor properly?

The time commitment is not usually excessive, though the responsibilities of a school governor can be considerable.  The list below suggests a typical workload:


- Reading of agenda and other papers for meetings

At least 1 full governing body meeting per term

1 or 2 meetings per term for each committee of which the governor is a member

At least 1 visit per term during the day

Possible involvement with any staff selection, pupil exclusion or staff dismissal cases

At least 1 training session per year, often these are held during the evening


As you can see, this can amount to maybe 9 or 10 meetings per year in the evenings and visits to the school during the day, plus time taken to read papers before meetings. If you become the Chair of a Committee or Chair of Governors then the time commitment required increases.


Do governors get paid?

No.  They can be considered to be the largest volunteer workforce in the country and are not paid for the time spent on governor’s activities. However, governors are able to claim expenses for such things as travel to the meetings or training sessions and childcare incurred during meetings.


What about time off work to be a governor?

Most meetings are during the evenings.  The Law says that an employer must give an employee “reasonable” time off work for governor business, but pay is at the employer’s discretion.  Many employers actively encourage their employees to become governors, because it provides new experiences and skills which are useful in many jobs.


How long do governors serve?

Most governors are elected or appointed for four years.  However, if they move away or have to resign mid-term, that is not a problem, so although you should think of it as a 4 year role you should not worry if you have to leave sooner.