All state maintained primary, secondary and special schools, are accountable to their governing bodies, which in turn are accountable to parents and the community. Parent and staff representatives are elected to the governing body; the local authority appoints governors to the governing body. In addition the governing body can appoint its own community governors, and it is traditionally these posts which the governing body uses to cover skills gaps, hence these posts often being offered to governors from the business community. Increasingly local authority appointment panels also look to the skills set of their appointees.
The Value of School Governance
Governing bodies make decisions which are in the best interests of the children and young people. Keeping the decision making as close as possible to those that are affected by the decisions makes for sound and efficient leadership and governance. Fulfilling the role of a school governor is, therefore, both a serious undertaking and enormously rewarding. Not only do governors bring their own knowledge and skills to the role, but, in learning how schools are run, they often develop their understanding of leadership. The majority of employers appreciate this and are supportive of their staff taking on the responsibility. In addition, contributing to the growth and development of a school and seeing tangible improvements in the attainment and well-being of the children is a satisfying and important contribution to the local community.
The Role of the Local Governing Committee
The governing committee is responsible for the conduct of its school, and must promote high standards of educational achievement at the school. It is the school’s accountable body and as such:
provides a strategic view of the school by establishing a vision and setting the purpose and aims of the school within an agreed policy framework.
It appoints and performance manages the Principal, agreeing the school improvement strategy which includes setting statutory targets with supporting budgets and staffing structures;
monitors and evaluates the work of the school by reviewing the performance of the Principal, the effectiveness of the policy framework, progress towards targets, and the effectiveness of the school improvement strategy;
signs off the self-evaluation process and responds to school improvement service and Ofsted reports as necessary. In addition it holds the Principal to account for the performance of the school and ensures that parents are involved, consulted and informed as appropriate, with information to the community being made available as required.
In order to do this, governors need to gain knowledge of how their school operates through training, by attending meetings and by getting to know their school community – for example through a small number of visits to the school during the school day.
Governors need to work together as a team, under the leadership of the Chair of the governing committee. Most governing bodies require their governors to sign a code of practice.
The governing body has three sub committees who each have responsibility for holding senior and middle leaders to account for various aspects:
This committee is responsible for staffing, HR, finance and all aspects of leadership. They meet on a regular basis to ensure financial accounting is appropriate and schools budgets are managed well. This includes reviewing and approving start and revised budgets and the overview of the school fund charity account. They review all requests for pay and progression considering outcomes, evidence and impact as well as attendance. They lead on any restructure recommendations from the Principal and other senior leaders and participate in disciplinary/redundancy and attendance panels as appropriate (with the exception of staff governors). They consider safeguarding matters and the link Safeguarding Governor is also on the Resources Committee.
The governors review and challenge all aspects of achievement for the students at Barlby High School. They consider data provided by the senior leadership team at all levels of KS3 & KS4 including investigating key groups such as Most Able, boys v girls, disadvantaged, SEND and others. Governors also participate in book scrutiny, lesson drop-ins, Faculty Area Reviews and visit school to link with individual faculties/aspects. They consider attendance and behaviour due to their strong links and impact on outcomes and achievement of students.
Skills and Training
Governors do not need specific skills, but many of the tasks they are required to undertake can benefit from general business knowledge such as understanding management systems, budget planning and HR functions.
Local authorities are required to ensure that training for governors is available and most governing bodies buy into their local authority training packages (which may include online learning) to ensure that governors are properly inducted to their role and trained for specific tasks such as appointing the Principal and then carrying out the Principal’s performance review.
Barlby High Governor information
The governing body is made up of:
The Principal, 3 Parent Governors and 1 Staff Governor. The remaining governors are co-opted and all the above governors have full voting rights at Local Governing Committee meetings and on their relevant sub-committees. Information on the governors is below with detail of committee membership, business interests and terms of office.
There are two governors employed by Barlby High School, Julie Caddell, Principal and Sandra Chambers. There are no relationships between governors and any members of staff in school (in terms of spouse, partners or relatives).