Schools are autonomous institutions with responsibility for their own budgets, maintenance and direction. People with skills and experience from the world of work, or experience as a parent, can help tackle these issues successfully, strengthening governing bodies and adding a new perspective to the decision making process.
School governors make collective decisions as part of the governing body whose primary function is to help raise the educational standards and performance of a school by supporting the work of the headteacher and staff. Governors make important decisions on how a school will be run.
The governing body is answerable to parents and the wider community.
Some of the things expected of governors include:
- Promoting high standards of achievement
- Planning the school's long-term future
- Overseeing the school's aims, values and ethos
- Setting performance measurement indicators & targets
- Monitoring the performance of the school against those standards
- Ensuring that the school procedures and policies are consistent with statutory requirements
Governors govern rather than manage. They are there to give direction and focus by performing a vital strategic role. The management of a school is the responsibility of the headteacher.
The governing body is not a supporters club! Governors take responsibility for the school’s performance. They take on the role of a ‘critical friend’ to the head and staff, offering both support and challenge. Part of the role is to recognise problems and to tackle them.
The Governing Body at High Wycombe Church of England School meets as a large group at least once each term. We also meet in smaller sub-committees and working groups which look in more detail at areas such as resources and the curriculum. Governors lead the performance management of the headteacher and many governors have a specific role such as numeracy, special needs or child protection.
Governors learn a lot about the school by scrutinising results, visiting classes and events, speaking with parents and staff, receiving reports from the headteacher, and meeting together. We are always seeking to be leadership partners in a school that learns and improves.
Generally, governors are expected to be at about three meetings each term – sometimes more, sometimes less. In addition, governors are expected to attend training courses, read materials prior to meetings and make school visits.