Who are the Governors and what do they do?
In her foreword to the 2020 Department of Education Governance Handbook, Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, states that Governance has never been more critical to the education of our nation’s young people…. The governance duty is, above all, to drive relentless ambition for the young people served by our schools system, whatever the circumstances.’
The Handbook defines effective school governance as:-
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
At Wallace Fields Junior School, the focus of the work of the Governing Body is school improvement and high standards of educational achievement. Governors are not expected to be involved in the detail of the day-to-day management of the school but to maintain strategic oversight of the school and hold school leaders to account for educational standards.
As part of its strategic role for example, the Governing Body agrees with the Headteacher which areas the School should focus on to improve in order to provide the best possible education for our children. Governors have a monitoring role and seek assurance regarding progress in achieving the School’s priorities, including in the educational performance of pupils, and in fulfilling its third core function, governors provide oversight of financial performance to ensure value is derived for the public money spent.
Governance at Wallace Fields Junior School is operated through a ‘no committee system’ and therefore the Governing Body meets as a full Governing Body twice or three times a term and does not delegate any of its functions to sub-committees (apart from statutory panels and committees such as for pay, head teacher appraisal, appeals).
Who are the Governors?
The Governors at Wallace Fields Junior School are all volunteers who give up their time because they care about the School. The Governing Body of Wallace Fields Junior School consists of 5 Parent Governors, 1 Headteacher Governor, 1 Staff Governor, 6 Co-opted Governors and 1 Local Authority Governor. This constitution is defined in the School’s Instrument of Governance.
Governors serve a four-year term of office and, depending on the category of governor, may be either appointed or elected as follows:-
- Parent governors are elected by the school’s parent population. Parents (including carers) of registered pupils at the school are eligible to stand for election as parent governors and can nominate themselves for this role.
- The Staff governor is elected from all the people who work at the school.
- The Head Teacher governor is an ex officio governor by virtue of their role as head teacher.
- The Local Authority governor is nominated by the Local Authority and appointed by the Governing Body.
- Co-opted governors are appointed by the Governing Body and are individuals who have been identified to have skills required to contribute to the effective governance of the school.
In addition, Associate Members may be appointed by the Governing Body to bring specialist knowledge or experience deemed by the Governing Body to be needed generally or in respect of specific projects. Their term of office can vary and they do not have voting rights.
Governors bring a wide range of skills and experience and the Governing Body currently includes members from areas such as the Civil Service, communications, banking and of course education and parenting. At Wallace Fields Junior School, we regularly undertake a governor skills audit to highlight any gaps in experience and skills needed. The results are used to inform recruitment and to recommend training to be undertaken by our governors. The School invests in a range of different training opportunities to help governors keep up to date with changes in the education landscape and support governors’ development and contribution to governance.
Governors at Wallace Fields Junior School sign up to a Code of Conduct which provides the standards expected of governors, including adherence to the Seven Principles of Public Life (The Nolan Principles). They also sign the declaration of eligibility to become a governor and appointment is subject to satisfactory references and clearance through the Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service.
Being a school Governor is a very rewarding role and it is a fantastic way to contribute to the local community.
We would be delighted to hear from you if you would like to contribute your experience to supporting your local Junior School. Please contact Tessa Jones, Clerk to the Governing Body by emailing Tjones@wallacefields-jun.surrey.sch.uk if you are interested in joining the Governing Body of Wallace Fields Junior School.
Governor register including attendance