Friday, 3 June 2011

Effective Governing Body Case Study: Kingsmead Community School, Somerset

Kingsmead Community School is a smaller than average 11–16 secondary school serving a large rural area.

The governing body was very well organised and its committees provided the key for challenging and supporting the leadership of the school. These committees were closely involved in drawing up the school development plan and in monitoring progress against its priorities. Governors were passionate about the school and contributed a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience.

They ensured that they were well informed about the school’s work and undertook appropriate training as necessary, for example on RAISEonline and Fischer Family Trust data provided for members of the curriculum, learning and school performance committee.

Governors expected initiatives to be considered carefully and discussed in full. They subsequently provided strong support as well as rigorous scrutiny through the most appropriate committee. The views and ideas of the students were considered carefully through the representative for the student voice on the student services and pastoral committee. Students felt that they were listened to and that they made a real contribution to improving the school.

Governors’ ‘open days’ provided planned opportunities for approximately six governors to gather first-hand information about the school at work on one day each term. Governors visited a series of lessons, usually in pairs so that they had mutual support and someone with whom to discuss and share their thoughts. Governors also met with members of staff relevant to their role and spent time visiting alternative curriculum provision. The programmes for the days were designed to ensure that every member of staff was visited in the classroom by governors once a year.

Crucial to the success of these occasions was the trust and openness which characterised
relationships throughout the school, including those between staff and governors. Governors were there to see ‘the school in action’, talk to students when appropriate and observe relationships between them and between students and staff. At the end of an open day, participating governors met informally to compare their thoughts and share ideas with the headteacher. They also fed back orally to their committees who reported in turn to the whole governing body.
These days played a key role in enabling the governing body to check on progress with improvement priorities and to contribute strongly to shaping the direction of the continuing improvement of the school.


  1. Governors at Kingsmead school advocate the study of The Simpsons and Heat magazine. I have asked them to remove Heat magazine and replace it with literature. Even though they agreed that Heat magazine was not a text of 'high quality' they decided to keep it anyway. No to more literature as well. As far as I am concerned the governing body is little more than a club membership, completely unaccountable to parents and the community.

  2. This governing body is completely unwieldy, with 20 governors. But only 2 governors are elected parents. How is that for fair?