Schools are run by a Board of Governors working with the principal to secure the delivery of education in the school suitable to the needs, ages and abilities of the pupils. Becoming a governor is a way of contributing to your local school and learning new skills.
Who can become a school governor?
An outstanding Governing Body is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school or academy. OFSTED (the national inspection body for schools) has noted that the most effective schools clearly demonstrate effective leadership and management, of which Governance is a vital part.
As a Governing Body we are continually looking out for individuals who are committed to seeing Manston St James Primary continue to improve so that our children gain the necessary skills they need to be able to make aspirational choices in the future. We need people who are able to look at our academy strategically, who are able to support the leadership but also provide appropriate challenge. Our purpose is always to help the academy improve its performance, and therefore improve outcomes for the children in our community.
In particular, we are looking for individuals who can provide an important link with the local community, as well as having business and management skills and experience. You do not need to be an expert in education, but someone who is not afraid to consider issues and ask questions that will challenge and hold the academy leadership to account.
In turn, we hope that becoming a Governor will enable you to strengthen existing skills and develop new ones, as well as providing an opportunity to contribute positively to the children and families in our local community.
If you are interested in becoming a Governor, and would like to know more, please contact one of the people listed below:
What is a governing body?
A school's governing body is a corporate body. This means it has a legal existence separate from that of its individual members.
What is the role of the governing body?
The governing body act on behalf of the Academy Trust and the key responsibilities are:
- Ensure the quality of educational provision
- Challenge and monitor the performance of the school
- Manage the Academy Trust's finances and property
- Have input on the appointment of staff.
- Exercise reasonable skills and care in carrying out their duties.
- Ensure that the Academy Trust complies with charity and company law.
- Operate the academy in accordance with the Funding Agreement that has been signed by the Secretary of State.
The Department for Education (DFE) sets out information on the role of the governing bodies in the Governor's Handbook. It says:
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on the core strategic function:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the Academy and its pupils.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the academy and making sure its money is well spent.
In other guidance the DfE explains that the purpose of the governing body is:
- Help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement.
- Keep the pressure up on school improvement.
- Be a critical friend to the school, offering support and advice.
- Help the school respond to the needs of the parents and the community.
- Make the school accountable to the public for what it does.
- Work with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping the school under review.Exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the Headteacher.
- Not intervene in the day-to-day management of the school unless there are weaknesses in the school, when it then has a duty to take action.
Governance and Management
Governance is strategic and management is operational. This distinction between governance and management needs to be clearly understood by all, so that governors are not asked to, and do not try to, involve themselves in day to day management.
Governors are there to govern, not to carry out other work on a pro-bono basis. School leaders must not be micro-managed. The governors should concentrate on matters related to strategy and school improvement, delegating to school leaders those tasks which are operational (for example, drafting policies, making judgements about teaching quality, and recruiting and deploying staff below senior leadership level). The agenda of governing bodies should be driven by the strategic planning cycle.