Structure and Responsibilities of the Governing Body and its committees
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNING BODY
The role of the Governing Body is a key part of the leadership of our school, albeit one that is often not fully understood by 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.
In September 2014, the structure of the Governing Body was reconstituted in line with new regulations. The Governing Body now consists of;
- two staff governors (the head and one other elected by staff)
- six co-opted governors
- two parent governors
- one Local Authority governor
In addition to the Full Governing Body meetings, we also have the following committees:
- Personnel, Premises and Finance Committee
- Pay Review Committee
- Head Teacher’s Performance Review Committee
- Committees to review pupil exclusion, hearings and appeals are convened on an ad hoc basis as the need arises
THE WORK OF THE GOVERNING BODY
1. School Development Plan
We play an important role in the production of the School Development Plan and the monitoring of its progress throughout the academic year.
2. Achievement of Pupils
Through our Governor Visits, half-termly meetings, termly Head Teacher reports and on-going review of the quantitative data (e.g. the School Performance data, Ofsted Dashboard and Pupil Asset) 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.
3. Raising Standards of Teaching
At Full Governing Body meetings 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 Pay Review 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.
4. Head Teacher’s Appraisal
The Governing Body carries out the annual appraisal of the Head Teacher; all members of the Head Teacher’s Appraisal Committee have received specific training 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.
5. Staff recruitment
The Governing Body may be involved in key areas of staff recruitment.
Over and above the on-going review of staff performance, we pay particular attention to the performance and integration of newly recruited members of staff.
6. Financial Performance
Every year we agree a budget based on the funding we receive from Surrey County Council and allocate spend in line with the priorities in the School Development Plan.
At the termly Personnel, Premises and Finance Committee meetings we review spend against budget in order to ensure that the priorities are being focused on and that the financial sustainability of our school is maintained.
We also plan and monitor capital investment in the infrastructure of the school.
We constantly review our policies, processes and systems in line with the recommendations set out in the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS).
7. Statutory Duties
We are very mindful of our statutory duties as a Governing Body and over the course of the year we pay particular attention to Health and Safety requirements, staff and pupil welfare and Safeguarding.
8. Governor visits
All governors visit the school regularly as part of the monitoring of the School Development Plan and of specific subjects. Feedback on all visits is given to the Full Governing Body meetings and this allows all governors to be kept informed about progress, and also to be aware of any concerns that need to be addressed.
9. Governor training
All members of the Governing Body receive training and attend events run by external bodies; this allows us to keep up-to-date with our responsibilities with regards to the latest requirements and expectations., as well as local and national Best Practice.
We received an Ofsted inspection in March 2015 and after a gruelling two days in which the inspectors visited all parts of the school and met pupils, staff and members of the Governing Body we were delighted to receive an overall rating of “Good”.
With regards to governance in particular, the inspectors said:
'Governance is good. Governors have a good understanding of how well the school is performing in relation to other schools nationally. Governors are clearly ambitious for the school and provide effective challenge to school leaders. They are also supportive. Governors visit the school frequently. They visit classes, talk to pupils and meet with staff. This ensures they know about the quality of teaching and how well pupils are achieving. They oversee the management of leaders’ performance closely. They support the Head Teacher in ensuring that good teaching is rewarded and any underperformance of staff is quickly tackled and put right. Governors ensure that additional funds, such as the primary physical education and sport premium and the pupil premium are used effectively. They check that funds are having a good effect on pupils’ achievement and the experiences they have. Safeguarding is given a high priority.
The impact of the governing body on school improvement is good.'
(Source: Ofsted Inspection Judgement – March 2015)