What do Governors do?
The Governing Body is responsible in law for the school, but it has a strategic role and doesn’t get involved in operational matters like teaching or timetabling – these are the responsibility of the Headteacher. The Governing Body holds the Headteacher to account for his decisions.
The Governing Body holds the Headteacher to account by monitoring and asking the right questions. This often includes visiting the school to look at specific areas, like safeguarding or behaviour.
What specific duties do Governors have?
1. Contribute to the strategic discussions at Governing Body meetings which determine:
2. Hold the senior leaders to account by monitoring the school’s performance; this includes:
3. Ensure the school staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.
4. When required, serve on panels of Governors to:
A Governor does NOT:
As you become more experienced as a Governor, there are other roles you could volunteer for which would increase your degree of involvement and level of responsibility (e.g as a chair of a committee). This document does not cover the additional roles taken on by the chair, vice-chair and chairs of committees.
In order to perform this role well, a Governor is expected to:
Under usual circumstances, you should expect to spend between 10 and 20 days a year on your governing responsibilities; the top end of this commitment, which equates to about half a day per week in term time, is most relevant to the chair and others with key roles, such as chairs of committees. Initially, we would expect your commitment to be nearer 10 days a year. However, there may be periods when the time commitment may increase, for example when recruiting a Headteacher. Some long-standing Governors may tell you that they spend far more time than this on school business; however, it is fairly common for Governors to undertake additional volunteering roles over and above governance.
Under Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, if you are employed, then you are entitled to ‘reasonable time off’ to undertake public duties; this includes school governance. ‘Reasonable time off’ is not defined in law, and you will need to negotiate with your employer how much time you will be allowed.
Expenses: Governors may receive out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling their role as Governor, see our expenses policy. Payments can cover incidental expenses, such as travel and childcare, but not loss of earnings.
Please refer to our Annual Statement of Governance, our Full Governing Body Minutes and the Governance Handbook (Jan 2017) for more detailed information about our work.
Frequently asked questions
The Governing Body is accountable by law to Ofsted, the local community and the Local Authority.
Contact the chair of your Governing Body. When there’s a vacancy for a parent Governor all parents will be informed and you’ll have the chance to stand for election. Parents can also be appointed as other categories of Governor (for example, co-opted).
No. All Governors are volunteers.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the school. Concerns and complaints should go to the school before coming to the Governing Body.
Where to go for more information
For more information on the role of the Governing Body, see the government’s Governance Handbook. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governance-handbook
Pupil premium funding: The pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.
Looked-after children: children who are provided with accommodation by the LA for a continuous period of more than 24 hours, or who are subject to a care or placement order
SEN: special educational needs
Co-opted Governor: Governors appointed on the basis of their skills or experience