Saturday, 8 October 2011

National College: Leading Effective Governance

As chair of governors, leading the governing body and working in partnership with the headteacher, you are responsible for driving school improvement and ensuring that the school achieves the aims and ambitions it has for its pupils. The work that you do has the ability to transform a school and the lives of the children in it. A thorough understanding of the school is crucial. You need to know its context, what it does well and where
it needs to improve.

A key element of your role is to ensure that governors understand the part they play in this and regularly assess whether they are doing their job effectively.

The Department for Education (DfE) has set out 10 key questions that it recommends governors ask to better understand and challenge their school’s performance:

1. What are the school’s values? Are they reflected in our long-term development plans?

2. How are we going to raise standards for all children, including the most and least able, those with special educational needs,boys and girls, and any who are currently underachieving?

3. Have we got the right staff and the right development and reward arrangements?

4. Do we have a sound financial strategy, get good value for money and have robust procurement and financial systems?

5. Do we keep our buildings and other assets in good condition and are they well used?

6. How well does the curriculum provide for and stretch all pupils?

7. How well do we keep parents informed and take account of their views?

8. Do we keep children safe and meet statutory health and safety requirements?

9. How is pupil behaviour? Do we tackle the root causes of poor behaviour?

10. Do we offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities which engage all pupils?

Effective governance also requires:

Governors with a good mix of skills,

Knowledge and experience, and with a strong commitment to the school and its pupils,
who are able to work together in a way that reflects the vision and ethos of the school

Governors with a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities and in particular their accountability and the difference between the role in strategic rather than operational decision-making

Good communications and meetings that are well organised and where everyone can contribute and be heard

A shared workload so that the governing body acts as a corporate body

A good relationship between governors and the headteacher and school leadership team;

The chair and headteacher should model this effective relationship

A chair of a governing body of a maintained school needs to be familiar with A Guide to the Law for School Governors (DfE, updated 2011).

Chairs of academies must be familiar with the corresponding law for academies, and the academy’s own funding agreement and articles of association.

Taken from  Chairs of Governors Booklet

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