What does a School’s Governing Body do?

The West Wimbledon Primary School governing body exists to be a critical friend to the Headteacher in running the school to maximise pupil learning and achievement. School Governing Bodies have three functions:

  1. Ensure the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school are clearly defined. (i.e. providing strategic leadership).

  1. Ensure the Headteacher performs her/his responsibilities for the educational performance of the school (i.e. holding the Headteacher to account).

  1. Ensure the sound, proper and effective use of the school’s financial resources (i.e. making sure the school’s money is well spent).

It is the responsibility of the governing body to set the strategic framework within which the school operates, and to ensure that all statutory duties are met.

Role of a Governor

It is not the intention for governors to be shadow professionals. No amount of training could equip governors with the skills and knowledge of the many professional disciplines – finance, personnel, curriculum, management etc., which the role of the governor could encompass. Governors have themselves identified the skills and qualities necessary to enable them to work as an effective team as follows:

  • to have an interest in children and to be supportive of school staff;

  • to make full use of their full knowledge, skills and experience;

  • to attend meetings and get involved;

  • to recognise the values and mutual concerns which bind them as a team;

  • to work co-operatively with a common purpose to get the job done;

  • to have mutual respect and tolerance for different points of view;

  • to be able to identify, evaluate and prioritise issues;

  • to encourage qualities of leadership and delegation;

  • to have an awareness of the values of the school, its aims and objectives;

  • to be prepared to listen;

  • to have a sense of humour;

  • to take a common sense approach;

  • to establish a balance between achieving the task, keeping team spirit and motivation high, and valuing the contribution of the individual.

 Governors’ activities include:

  • attending Full Governor Body meetings which are held once a term;

  • attending meetings of at least one of the committees of the Governing Body (more details below);

  • attending school events and to be visible to pupils, teachers and parents;

  • making a focussed learning visit to the school at least one a year;

  • monitoring and evaluating the national curriculum offer that the School provides and other pupil performance data.

 The committees

Upon becoming a Governor, colleagues are asked to join at least one of the following committees of the Full Governing Body:

  1. School Business Committee – responsible for school finances, site and premises and ensuring the school is managed in accordance with best practice.

  2. Pupils and Community – responsible for effectively engaging with all key stakeholders e.g. pupils, parents, teachers and the local community.

  3. Standards, Teaching and Learning – responsible for driving up standards of pupil learning and achievement.

The committees meet once a term except for the School Business Committee which meets twice a term.

The roles and responsibilities of a school governor are varied. To help evaluate and perform the role, the National Governors Association has created a list of twenty questions for governing bodies to consider. They provide a helpful framework both to follow and to understand school governance. These can be found at the following link:

www.nga.org.uk/Guidance/Workings-Of-The-Governing-Body/Governance- Tools/Twenty-Questions.aspx