The role of the Governing Body is a key part of the leadership of our school, and should be fully understood by all stakeholders in the community.
The government has high expectations of governing bodies. They are the strategic leaders of our schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. For schools such as ours this is reflected in the law, which states that the purpose of governing bodies is to ‘conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school’.
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Head Teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff;
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
The governors bring a wide variety of experience and expertise to the school, and this helps ensure that the school is moving forward and standards are constantly raised in a way that is in line with the overarching ethos and vision of the school, along with the statutory directives from the Department of Education.
The Department for Education describes the purpose of a governing body as follows.
The governing body should:
- 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 head teacher 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 governing body is made up of Local Authority, parent, staff and co-opted governors from which a Chair and Vice Chair are elected. Cherry Orchard’s Governing Body consists of: - Two Parent Governors (elected) - One Local Authority Governor - One Head Teacher - One Staff Governor (elected) - Five Co-opted Governors
Three Associate Governors
Co-opted governors can be parents, staff or community governors but the proportion of staff on a governing body, including the Head, cannot exceed one third of the total.
A Chair of Governors and a Vice Chair are elected from the parent, Local Authority and co-opted governors. Governors also choose, or are appointed, to serve on various committees. Meetings are clerked by an appointed Clerk to the Governors. In addition to Full Governing Body meetings, we also have the following committee meetings:
- Finance, Staffing and Buildings Committee
- Safeguarding and Health & Safety Committee
- Curriculum Committee
- Head Teacher’s Performance Review Committee
- Committees such as the Redundancy Committee and Exclusions Committee are convened as the need arises
Committee meetings are clerked by an appointed Clerk to the Governors.
Membership to the National Governors’ Association gives all our governors access to training materials and guidance via the NGA website.
Members of the current Governing Body have also received the following training:
- NGA Governor Induction Training
- Safeguarding Vulnerable People
- DfE Safer Recruitment in Education
- WRAP (Workshop to Raise Awareness about PREVENT) training
- British Values in Schools
- What to expect in an Ofsted Inspection
- Finance training for governors
The Governing Body also arranged for a National Leader of Governance to complete an audit of its practices and procedures, the results of which will impact on the Governing Body’s action plan for this academic year.
GOVERNING BODY ACTION PLAN
This enables the governing body to demonstrate its focus on its three core strategic functions: ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction; holding the head teacher to account for educational performance of the school and its pupils; overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
One of the main objectives in preparing the development plan is to align the governors’ focus on its three core strategies with the requirements of the school improvement plan, training requirements and any requirements arising from any external review or inspection.
THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN (SIP)
Governors work co-operatively with the head teacher and senior management in the writing and monitoring the School's Strategic Plan, which sets out the aims for the forthcoming 5 years, and the School Improvement Plan which sets aims for each academic year. The current SIP is based on priorities identified from data, school self-evaluation, external monitoring and Ofsted priorities. The SIP is set out with clear aims, the key tasks which will be completed in order to achieve these aims and the success criteria in order to measure outcomes. The SIP is monitored and reviewed in Full Governing Body meetings.
Each governor is linked to a member of the school's leadership team and visits the school at least once a term as part of their monitoring of the School Improvement Plan, Safeguarding and specific projects. These are considered a valuable opportunity for governors to be able to work closely with staff members working in a variety of roles across the school. Link governors follow a cycle which sets out the monitoring activities which they will be undertaking with the staff leader. Guidance in terms of the roles and responsibilities of statutory link governors are provided to relevant governors and regular training is available in order to up-skill our team.
Examples of the impact of these visits include:
- Implementation of a new structured assessment system to address the expectations of the new National Curriculum, ensure sustained progress of pupils and to positively impact on learning in Reading, Writing and Maths;
- Co-operative working to prepare and introduce new policies and working practices on Special Educational Needs and Safeguarding;
- Monitor the impact of the restructuring of learning support staff and the improved programme of effective interventions.
ACHIEVEMENT OF PUPILS - DATA ANALYSIS
Through governor visits, termly Head Teacher reports and on-going review of the quantitative data (e.g. the School Performance Platform analysis, the annual Ofsted Dashboard and within-school data) we know how the children are performing and where there are issues that need our input to address.
We look at the school’s academic performance against annual targets and longer-term trends, and benchmark our performance against national data and local schools as well as that of similar schools. We use this information to constructively challenge the Head Teacher and other school leaders in order to ensure that any potential problems are addressed in a timely way and successes celebrated.
This ensures that throughout the year we know how we are performing against our priorities and targets.
Whole-school data regarding attainment, progress and attendance is made available to governors through termly meetings with verbal and written reports followed by question and answer sessions with the head teacher and members of the senior management team. The governors are able to benchmark their data against similar schools, the Local Authority and schools nationally to ensure the school’s standards and expectations are high and are able to be closely scrutinised.
Particular scrutiny is placed on pupil progress across all ability groups including vulnerable groups and on the effective use of the Pupil Premium.
RAISING STANDARDS OF TEACHING
At the Full Governing Body meeting we review anonymised data showing evidence pertaining to the quality of teaching within the school; this includes feedback from classroom observations carried out by the Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher, reports on the progress of specific groups of children and scrutiny of the children’s books. Overall, this allows us to track progress against our target that 100% of teaching is good or outstanding.
The Finance and Staffing Committee reviews the Head Teacher’s evidence of staff performance against targets and uses this to determine the level of pay awards, if any, for individual members of staff. It also supports the Head Teacher and Senior Leadership Team in ensuring that any underperformance of staff is quickly tackled and put right.
HEAD TEACHER’S APPRAISAL
The Governing Body carries out the annual appraisal of the Head Teacher; the members of the Head Teacher’s Appraisal Committee are supported by an external adviser to enable a thorough appraisal to be carried out.
The appraisal process allows us to look closely at the performance of the Head Teacher, have discussions about areas of strength and weakness and set new targets against which the Head Teacher’s performance will be reviewed.
This process has been a key enabler in improving pupil achievement, teaching standards and the overall leadership within the school.
We are very mindful of our statutory duties as a Governing Body and over the course of the year we have paid particular attention to Health and Safety requirements, staff and pupil welfare and Safeguarding.
Governors review all relevant policies on a programmed basis to ensure that all guidance is current and up to date. Specific attention is paid to ensure that the school complies with the Department of Education mandatory policy list and the Local Authority recommended list.
The impact of the governors’ role in the school ensures that the budget is managed effectively and improvements are effective and continuous. Examples of the impact of this work include:
- continued and improved staff and governor CPD;
- reduced overall staffing costs;
- increased provision for intervention teaching.
The head teacher, deputy head teacher, business manager and the Chair of Governors are trained in ‘Safer Recruitment’.
Governors are involved in the recruitment and selection of teaching staff and use the appointment process to ensure that high quality members of staff who share the school’s vision and ethos are appointed.