The Governing Body at the College consists of parents, staff and members of the local community. It is responsible for the strategic leadership of the College and works closely with the Principal and the Assistant Principal Team in monitoring and promoting high standards of educational achievement.
The Role of a Governor
The three core functions of governance (from Department for Education Governance Handbook January 2017) are:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
The Governing Body
The Governing Body is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the College and deciding on the general policies of the College, for setting the College budget, and for agreeing the College Improvement Plan and monitoring the College’s performance against it. In the vast majority of cases, it carries out its duties in conjunction with the Principal (the main exceptions are matters directly relating to the Principal him/herself, such as pay and disciplinary action). The Principal is responsible for putting those policies etc into effect and for the day-to-day management of the College.
The following examples will hopefully illustrate the difference between governance (the governors’ responsibility) and management (the Principal’s responsibility).
- The Principal and staff draft the College Improvement Plan, but the Governing Body discusses and approves it, and may make amendments if it thinks they are necessary.
- The Principal and Business Manager draft the College budget, but the Governing Body discusses it and may make amendments before it is approved.
- In approving the College Improvement Plan, the Governing Body decides what outcomes it wants (eg a certain level of community use of the College’s facilities, a certain percentage of grades A-C at GCSE, etc), but it cannot dictate how those outcomes are to be achieved – that is the role of management.
- The Governing Body decides on policies for behaviour management, staff relations, etc, but cannot detail how those policies are to be implemented. It can only become involved if it believes that they are not being implemented.
The full Governing Body meets at least 9 times a year; there is also a Finance, Audit & Risk Committee which carries out budget scrutiny and audit functions.
The precise role of each governor will depend on what responsibilities s/he takes on. Most governors will take responsibility for one of the portfolios – Finance; H&S; Data; Safeguarding/Child Protection; SEND; Post-16; Teaching & Learning; Pastoral Care; Policies; HR – Governors are also encouraged to take on other responsibilities from time to time, but there is no requirement to do so.
The Annual Report and Financial Statement provide details of the structure and remit of the members, board of trustees, committees and how the Governors ensure the Trust obtains Value for Money in the goods and services it procures.
Other Group and Individual Responsibilities
In addition to the portfolios, there are several working groups and activities in which governors can become involved. Some of these call for regular involvement, others are purely ad hoc.
- Finance, Audit & Risk Committee – this committee meets approximately 4 times per year and carries out essential audit functions and budget scrutiny;
- Principal’s Performance Review Panel – a group of governors who review the Principal’s performance and set targets for the forthcoming year;
- Pay Committee – a group of governors who meet once a year to consider the pay of the Principal, other members of the Leadership Team and teaching staff.
- Discipline Committee – three governors to consider and confirm or overturn the permanent exclusion of a student, or an exclusion exceeding five days in a term;
- Staff Committee – a group of governors to hear appeals against disciplinary action taken by the Principal against staff;
- Curriculum Appeals Committee – a group of governors to hear parents’ appeals against the implementation of the curriculum;
- Parental consultation – a governor who from time to time oversees various consultation exercises with parents.
There will also be other ad hoc arrangements set up from time to time to deal with particular situations.