What are school governors and what do they do?
Every school in the UK is overseen by a board of governors.
Whilst it’s down to the Headteacher and senior school staff to actually manage the school from day to day, it’s the responsibility of the governors to ensure that the school is performing well and doing the best for all its pupils.
Essentially the role of a governor is to be a ‘critical friend’, offering advice and support, and holding the senior staff to account.
The three key purposes of the governing body are:
- Ensuring that the school has a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding executive leaders (the Headteacher and senior staff) to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
Governors are involved in every aspect of school life, from playtime to OFSTED inspections, and usually take on specific roles according to their experience and interests.
How are governors appointed, and who is on the governing body?
Governors are appointed in one of three ways. They are either:
- Elected by parents of children who attend the school,
- Appointed by the local education authority (in our case, Haringey Council), or
- Invited to join (co-opted) by other governors.
The Headteacher is always on the governing body, along with teachers elected by other staff.
How does the governing body work?
Rokesly Junior School governors work closely with Bola Soneye-Thomas, our headteacher. We make decisions at full governors’ meetings and in committees. Most of our business is conducted in these meetings, although we also have regular school visits to ensure we keep in touch with the day-to-day life of the school.
We receive guidance from Haringey Council and the Department for Education (DfE). We also collaborate closely with the governors of the Infants school and some governors sit on the boards of both schools.
Can I be a governor?
If you feel that you have skills, experience and enthusiasm for being a governor, please talk to one of the current governors so that we can consider co-opting you on to the board or talk to you about running the next time there is an election. Just contact the School Office, and they can put you in touch with one of our governors.
There is an extensive range of training sessions specifically for governors, provided by Haringey Education Partnership (HEP). These training sessions usually last one to two hours and take place in the evening, and cover all aspects of being a governor e.g. school finances, safeguarding, understanding school performance data, how to prepare for an Ofsted inspection etc. All new governors are encouraged to attend an Induction training for new governors, which takes one day.
The role of governors
The purpose of the governing body is to help the school provide the best possible education for its pupils. We play a strategic role, concentrating on the underlying principles of how the school is run. Day-to-day management issues remain the responsibility of the headteacher and her staff.
Governors have a considerable number of statutory responsibilities to fulfil, for instance:
- Approval of the school budget
- Performance management of the headteacher
- Delivery of the National Curriculum
- Reviewing pupil exclusions
- Approving arrangements for school trips as well as other health and safety issues
- Monitor and evaluate progress in school development and achievements
We also play an important role in accountability. Not only is the headteacher accountable to the governing body, but the governing body is accountable to parents, the LA and ultimately to the Department for Education (DfE).
Much of the content of the governors’ work is set by DfE. By law, governors are expected to:
- Set the strategic framework
- Monitor and evaluate progress towards the school’s priorities and targets
- Support the head and staff to raise standards and challenge where necessary
- Account to all stakeholders for the school’s overall performance and the decisions they have made.
The headteacher’s role is to:
- Be responsible for the organisation, management and control of the school
- Formulate aims and objectives, policies and targets for the governing body to consider adopting
- Advise on and implement the governing body’s strategic framework
- Provide governors with the information they need to help the school raise its standards
- Report on progress
- Parents and School Partnership
How the governing body is structured, and its meetings
The full governing body (FGB) consists of all the governors. This meets once a term.
Beneath the full governing body are three committees which take responsibility for different elements of running the school. Governors volunteer to join one or more of the committees, depending upon their relevant skills or interests. Each committee meets at least once a term.
The three committees are:
- Resources – this includes Finance and Personnel. As regards Finance, the committee approves the school budget and monitors the financial situation throughout the year. On the Personnel side, the committee oversees staffing issues.
- Facilities – this is a joint committee with Rokesly Infants. This covers school buildings, the catering contract for school meals etc.
- Curriculum – this committee monitors how subjects are being taught, the adoption of new teaching schemes, and how well pupils are doing by analysing performance data.
In addition to the full governing body and committee meetings, there are also joint meetings between the Infant and Junior School governors twice a year – to encourage collaboration and co-operation between the two schools.
Rokesly Junior School
London, N8 8NH
Phone: 020 8348 0290
Headteacher: Bola Soneye-Thomas