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Whybridge

Infant School

'Learning together to make a difference'

Governors

Please note that all PDFs included here open as a webpage with no separate download required.  This is in order to comply with the 'readily accessible' instruction in the constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools.  To navigate back you need to use the back arrow button rather than closing the page.

Introduction to the Governing Board

What is the Governing Board?  Why do we have one?  What does it do?  What rules must it follow?

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:

Constitution and Membership

Who should be on the board?  How are they chosen and for how long?

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:

  • Parent governors are parents who have been nominated and elected by the school's parents at large

  • Staff governor is a member of staff who has been nominated and elected by the staff at large
  • Local Authority governor is nominated by the Local Authority and then appointed by the board itself
  • Headteacher governor is the current post holder
  • Co-opted governors are members of the wider community who the board appoints directly itself

Vetting and Checks on Governors

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.

Declared Interests & Conflicts of Interest

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.

Chair of Governors, Clerking & Minutes - making contact with the board

The Chair of Governors is the main point of contact for the governing board and the lead facilitator at its meetings.  Each year the board votes one of its members to be chair (staff governors are ineligible).  A clerk is also engaged (via a professional governor support service) in order to ensure that meetings are compliant, well advised, and independently recorded with professional minuting.  The clerk may act as a professional point of contact for the board on the chair's behalf.  If any member of the community wishes to contact the board for any reason they should contact the chair or clerk as per the link here:

Meetings of the Board, Committees & Panels, Other Roles & Responsibilities

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:

Attendance at Meetings (and Guests)

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.

Training and Resources

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:

  • Calendar with dates of meetings
  • Document folders with meeting agendas, minutes and other relevant or supporting documents
  • Communication tools for contacting other governors and the local authority
  • Links to training and support available locally
  • Links to national services and relevant legislation/ guidance
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