Every school has a governing body made up of school governors, which could consist of between 9 and 20 people depending on the size and type of the school.
School governors play a vital part in the success of schools. They are volunteers, who work with the head and the council to improve standards in their school.
Role of the governing body
Recent legislation has widened the responsibilities of school governors, but broadly governing bodies oversee the work of the school and make sure it provides a good quality education for its pupils.
Working in partnership with the head and other staff, governors are involved in:
- Setting the school's aims and policies
- Improving standards of teaching and achievement
- Setting the school's budget plan and monitoring expenditure
- Interviewing and appointing teachers and support staff
- Acting as a link between the local community and the school
- Dealing with complaints about the school;drawing up an action plan after an inspection, and monitoring the success of the plan.
In addition, every year governing bodies produce an annual report for parents and arrange a meeting at which this can be discussed.
Types of governor
Each school's governing body includes:
- Parent governors who have a child at the school and are elected by other parents
- Teacher governors who work at the school and are elected by other teachers
- Staff governors who are members of the non-teaching/support staff at the school and are elected by their colleagues
- Local education authority governors who are appointed by the Council through the political parties
- Co-opted governors who are appointed by other governors as representatives of the wider local community, as business representatives, or because of particular skills that they can bring to the governing body
- Foundation governors who are appointed by the Church or Trust which supports the school
Heads can choose whether or not to be a governor at their school.
What is involved
Being a governor can be hard work and means attending meetings and reading paperwork. It is however a valuable way of serving the local community, and gives an opportunity for people to influence the future of education in their area.
Governing bodies have to meet at least once each term, but much of the work of governing bodies is delegated to committees. All governors are expected to participate in the work of at least one or two committees. Most legal termly meetings are held during the evening, but committees may meet either in the evening or daytime.
It is important to get to know the school by visiting it and supporting events. It is equally important to support training sessions, which may be arranged for either individual governors or whole governing bodies.
Most governors serve for four years, and many continue for a second or even third term by being re-appointed or re-elected.
Our School Governor website provides information for new governors, as well as reports, briefings and advice on good practice and procedures.