Sunday, 11 December 2011

The role of governor within the governing body

On 12th December the DfE udpated their website on School Governance

The purpose of having a governing body is to
  • help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement
  • keep the pressure up on school improvement
  • be a critical friend to the school, offering support and advice
  • help the school respond to the needs of parents and the community
  • make the school accountable to the public for what it does
  • work with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping the school under review
  • exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the headteacher and staff
  • not intervene in the day-to-day management of the school unless there are weaknesses in the school, when it then has a duty to take action.
A school's governing body is a corporate body. This means it has a legal existence separate from that of its individual members. As long as governors have acted honestly, without ulterior motive, and reasonably, within the law and regulations, the governing body can't be held to account as individuals for any liabilities incurred by the governing body.

Frequently asked questions

Q. As a parent (or teacher, etc.) governor, do I

a) represent and convey the views/opinions of the parents (or teachers, etc) of the school, 


b) represent the views/opinions of 'a parent' (or 'a teacher', etc)?

A. As a parent (or teacher, etc.) governor, you do represent the views/opinions of 'a parent" (or "a teacher", etc.). You are on the governing body to give a parental (teacher) perspective to discussions and decisions. The governing body is given its powers and duties as an incorporated body. Individual governors have no power except where the whole governing body has delegated a specific power to that individual.

If parents (teachers, etc.) of the school wish to have their views represented or conveyed at a governing body meeting, they should be advised to contact the chair, who will put it on the agenda. As a parent (teacher, etc.) governor, you are then able to express your own views/opinions of the item from your parental (teacher, etc.) perspective, and may if you wish, voice the views/opinions that have been put forward by other parents (colleagues), but are under no obligation to do so.

If parents ask you (as a representative) to deal with problems about their particular child, you should be firm and state that governors deal with school policies affecting all children. If they have a concern about their own child, they must take it up themselves with the head or class teacher. If it can't be resolved to their satisfaction, they may then complain formally to the governors, who will programme it as an agenda item.

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