All the school governors are members of a school's Governing Body. They have responsibility for raising school standards through their three key roles :
1. Setting the school's vision and strategic aims, agreeing plans and policies, and making creative use of resources.
2. Monitoring and evaluating performance, acting as a critical friend to the Headteacher to support and challenge them in managing the school.
3. Ensuring that the school is accountable to the children and parents it serves, to its local community, to those who fund and maintain it, as well as to the staff it employs.
The powers and responsibilities are collective and no individual has the power or right to act on behalf of the Governing Body.
The Strategic Role
- Ensuring the school has clear aims and values that are supported by the whole school community
- Ensuring evidence of this in the day to day running of the school
- Focus on raising standards of achievement, establishing high expectations and promoting effective teaching and learning so that every student achieves his/her full potential
- Decide with the Headteacher, staff, students and parents the direction of the school development planning progress
- Ensure that the resources that the school receives are directed to the school's priorities as determined in the School Development Plan (SDP)
- Help to set and review the policies that provide a broad framework within which the Headteacher and staff should run the school
- Ensure that there are systems in place to monitor progress toward targets and gather evidence accordingly
- Use the evidence to review progress against targets to see whether policies and practices are effective. Check on the schools achievements and progress over time and in comparison with similar schools
- Take advice on this from the Headteacher before making their decisions
- The governing body should be one of the key players in the school improvement planning process. Governors should be involved in the review of the School Development Plan and drawing up of plans for the coming year.
Governing Body committees can draw up detailed plans for their area, for example, premises development or governing body development. This process enables the governing body to have a clear understanding about the direction of the school, the allocation of resources along with the monitoring process, ensuring the plans that are implemented are effective.
The Critical Friend Role
- Recognising and celebrating the achievements of the school
- Recognising where the school is not achieving as it should
- Providing support and encouraging strategies to bring about improvement
- Striking an appropriate balance between supporting and challenging
The role of "critical friend" involves monitoring and evaluating how the school is progressing. Governors need to build a trusting relationship with the Headteacher and staff in order to achieve this.
- Evidence gathering to show progress has been made toward agreed targets
- Using the School Development Plan to know the actions to be taken and the outcomes expected
- Asking questions about progress and challenging to ensure objectives are met
- Making judgements about results
- Ensuring action is taken once concerns are identified
- using a search analysis of student achievements to provide a focus for the evaluation of teaching and learning
It is not the governors role to make judgements about teachers. It is, however, the role of the governors to ensure that monitoring of teaching takes place and the necessary actions are taken to develop and support the quality of teaching.
The Accountability Role
In this role, governors:
- Are required to conduct the schools with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement (Education Act 2002)
- Have the right to discuss, question and refine proposals while respecting the professional roles of the Headteacher and other staff, and their responsibilities for the management of the school
- Must be prepared to account for the school's performance and to explain it's decisions and actions to anyone who has a legitimate interest.
The governing body will need to account to the whole school community for the performance of the school. Governors must ensure that the school prospectus and school profile are up to date and available to all.