Valuing the Individual, Celebrating Achievement, Learning for Life.
What do Governors do? - Some Frequently Asked QuestionsHow many governors does the School have?
Each school has to have a Governing Body which is made up of a certain number of governors specified in the Instrument of Government. This outlines how the governors operate.
Sherwood Park School works within the school Governance (procedures) Regulation 2003 and The School Governance (constitution) Regulations 2007 as defined in the Governors’ Guide to the Law. This is a reassurance for parents/carers that we have strictly regulated powers under the law.
Our governing body specified under the Instrument consists of:
2 parent governors
1 Local Authority governor
1 Staff member
2 Foundation governors
5 co-opted governors
How are governors appointed?
Parent/ Carers elect the parent governors and all of the staff team elect the staff governor. The Local Authority governor is nominated by the Local Authority, but that has to be approved by the Governing Body. The other vacancies on the board are filled by advertising, recommendations from related organisations or other governors and through support from recognised Governor search agencies. However, all are interviewed by the Chairman and Headteacher, and if they are considered suitable, are put forward to the Governing Body for approval. The two Foundation governors arise because the School has, in the last year, become a Foundation School. This means it is still part of the Local Authority but governors now have some of the responsibilities that the LA would have had previously (such as being the employer of staff).
Are governors paid?
All governors are volunteers but expenses can be paid in certain circumstances (as set out in the School’s policy).
How much time does being a governor involve?
The most important commitment from a governor is that they have the time to attend meetings (at least 2 a term), visit the School and to read the papers that are sent out for governors meetings. Above all, they need to have a commitment and desire to enrich and improve the lives of the children in school. Sherwood Park School is a community where the staff are totally committed to ensuring the children make progress and have many
opportunities to experience life outside the school. When eventually the young people leave school they are
much better prepared to face adult life. Being part of this environment and supporting it, is a real privilege for a governor and indeed has an impact on their own lives.
What are the responsibilities of a governor?
1. These may seem daunting at first, but we are supported by an independent clerk who gives advice where appropriate and ensures we abide by regulations covering all aspects of school life. Governor’s responsibilities are sent out in Terms of Reference for the governing body, and separate ones for committees. Governors approve the School Development Plan, ensure financial sustainability of the school and scrutinise and approve the School’s budget.
2. Governors appoint the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher. These are vital appointments and are done by a Selection Committee of 5 governors advised by an independent education consultant. It is a thorough process combining a presentation, teaching a class, taking a school assembly, with written answers to tasks and formal interviews. The recommendation for appointment from the panel has then to be approved by the Governing Body. In certain circumstances the Governing Body can give delegated authority to the panel to make the final decision. Again, as a reassurance to the staff and parents/carers, the Chairman does not make decisions alone (unless delegated to do so by the Governing Body beforehand) and then has to report back to
the next Governing Body meeting.
3. Overseeing Safeguarding procedures is another statutory requirement. These are agreed by the Governing Body and we have an individual governor who is designated to make regular visits to the School to ensure the Safeguarding procedures are implemented correctly, before reporting back to the Governing Body each term.
4. In addition all governors are assigned a class and a curriculum responsibility so they can report back to the Governing Body on what they have seen and learnt. This ensures the governors have a working knowledge of the teaching in school.
5. A good relationship and mutual respect between governors and the Headteacher and Senior Management Team is essential and in practice crucial decisions are made together. An important point, however, is that this does not stop governors asking probing questions or suggesting other ways forward. Our role is to be challenging so that issues are fully debated and if necessary taken to a vote.
I hope that all who have read this have been reassured that the governors are supporting the Headteacher, staff, pupils and parents within the legal framework. Their decisions are always made after receiving professional advice from the Headteacher or advised in consultation with the Head. Governors are advised to attend professional training from the Governor Support Service to improve their knowledge of what is required.
I repeat, it can be daunting, but it is a service to the local community and it is very worthwhile to be involved in a school as impressive as Sherwood Park.