Schools must have corporate governance (meaning they must be overseen by a group of people who are collectively responsible and accountable for the proper running and functioning of the school). For local authority maintained schools this means having a board of Governors. The board supports and oversees the leadership and management of the school, including line-managing the headteacher. It has certain statutory duties around financial compliance, resourcing & employment matters, and ensuring adequate provision for pupils under current legislation and guidance. Governors are a mix of people from across different areas of the school community and are all volunteers. (For staff governors this is an unpaid responsibility, separate from their employment duties). The board is the highest authority in the school under the local authority. The board must specifically operate under and comply with any local policies as well as the UK Government Department for Education's statutory guidance linked here:
The statutory guidance entitled 'The Constitution of Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools' (which can be found on the link above) indicates how governing boards should be organised and run. It requires that local authorities issue an 'Instrument of Government' to each school detailing the legal name of the board, how many governors must be on the board, how many governors of each category it must have, and how long each governor's term of office must last. Our school's instrument of government is provided here:
All of our governors' names, mode of appointment and the dates for their term of office are listed on our 'Get Information About Schools' page of the UK Government website linked below. Where vacancies arise they will be filled in the following ways:
Whilst all governors are engaged on a voluntary basis, they still have access to sensitive information and certain areas of school life. Therefore every governor has their ID checked, as well as an enhanced disclosure and barring service (DBS) check and a management prohibition check (Section 128) before they are allowed to commence their role. The DBS check is repeated every three years.
All governors must declare any personal or professional interests they have which could potentially influence decisions away from what is in the best interests of the school (including governance roles elsewhere, business/ pecuniary interests, relationships with other governors/ staff etc). These declarations are listed in the document below. There is also opportunity to declare any conflicting interests at the beginning of every meeting before the main items of the agenda are discussed.
Where such a conflict of interest exists the board would consult the clerk/ published guidance and determine the relevant course of action for that item on the agenda, for example; temporarily suspending the member's voting rights or asking them to vacate the meeting for that item.
The Chair of Governors is the main point of contact for the governing board and the lead facilitator at its meetings. Every year the board take a vote on which one of its members will be the chair for that year (staff governors are ineligible). If you would like more information about the work of the governing board or have a specific need to contact our chair of governors you can do so here:
The Board meets at least three times per year and sets up sub-committees to carry out certain duties in it's name with a few members of the full Board sitting on each committee. Smaller panels can also be set up to carry out a specific task (usually where this task involves scrutinizing an individual or appeals to such scrutiny). The governing board also distributes certain portfolios of responsibility to individual named governors, such as responsibility for overseeing specific areas of the curriculum or linking and advising the board on specific key service areas. Some of these portfolios and panels are statutory requirements.
Current committees, panels (and the relevant governor members as well as committee chairs) along with governors' specific portfolios are listed here:
Whilst the role is voluntary it comes with certain obligations and duties including attending meetings. A record of governors' attendance at meetings for the previous year is provided here. Other people may be invited to attend at the discretion of the chair in order to provide relevant expert or technical witness, testimony, advice and support to the board. Such guests do not have any voting rights.
The school engages a clerk (via a professional governor support service) in order to ensure that meetings are compliant, well advised, and that minutes are professionally recorded and independent. Minutes are a matter of public record and should any member of the community wish to view the minutes they should contact the chair. (Any personal or identifying data will be redacted before issue).
All governors receive induction and safeguarding training. Where necessary further training is available/ directed and a named governor is given the 'training liaison' portfolio to keep governors updated with latest training developments. An annual skills audit of all governors highlights strengths and weaknesses to address gaps in the board's overall knowledge base and competencies. This audit informs training and recruitment.
Below is a link to the governors secure platform (you will need to be a governor to be given access) which has: