School Governors

The Role of the Governing Body

Every school in the country has to have  a Governing Body.  This is a group of people representing the interests of parents (P), staff (S), the Local Authority (L) and the wider Community (C) who volunteer their time to work with the school, particularly the Headteacher, to:

  • ensure that all statutory requirements are met;
  • provide strategic direction for the school;
  • set policies and procedures;
  • set and manage the school budget;
  • recruit and appoint new staff;
  • share ideas for development and evaluate the school’s work;
  • set development targets and monitor progress;
  • deal with serious complaints.

The Governing Body’s role is to provide support and act as a ‘critical friend’ to the school and to the Headteacher in moving the school forward and ensuring its success.  The Governing Body of a school is accountable for its performance, its finances and the safety and well-being of pupils and staff.  All of the above is done by governors on a voluntary basis, some of whom may not have a background in or work in the education sector.  Governors bring a wide range of experience to the school, including business and finance, parenting experience, further and higher education and administrative expertise.  Above all, they bring energy, commitment, enthusiasm and ideas to share with senior staff in shaping the future of the school.

The role of a governor involves: 

  • taking an interest in the life of the school;
  • taking an interest in pupils and staff;
  • attending meetings of the full governing body and one or more committees;
  • providing a level of questioning and challenge of the headteacher;
  • attending training and other meetings;
  • sharing viewpoints and ideas;
  • sharing collective responsibility for decisions;
  • taking a role as a named governor for an area of the school’s work, e.g. Safeguarding, Mathematics
  • ensuring that discussions are held in the strictest confidence;
  • working with the Headteacher and other staff;
  • coming into school to find out more about provision, quality, plans and evaluation;
  • offering their time, where possible, to support school events.

The roles and responsibilities of governing bodies are clear in law and there is a clear distinction between the responsibilities and powers of the Headteacher and those of governors.  Governors have oversight for strategic (longer-term) planning, including financial planning rather than day-to-day operational planning or work.  For example, Governors might be involved in the selection of a new school caterer ensuring value for money and quality service but would not be involved in the which which lunchtimes are run.  It is very important that those who want to become school governors understand what the role is and what it is not. Governors are expected to:

  • serve for a period of four years (unless the governor resigns before that date);
  • attend a number of Governing Body meetings per year (usually Tuesdays, 4.30pm – 6.30pm)
  • take an interest in the life of the school, its policies, forward direction and performance;
  • take a very wide view of the school, its leadership and its activities;
  • take a special interest in one or more aspects of the school’s work, as a named governor;
  • take an interest, as a Link Governor, in the provision for or activities of a particular age group;
  • support the overall strategic direction of the school;
  • take an interest in the wellbeing and support for pupils and staff;
  • read school policies and other documents, including statutory documents and reports;
  • read the agendas, minutes, documents and reports in readiness for meetings and discussion;
  • attend training and other meetings (evenings and/or weekends) aimed at developing good governance;
  • occasionally work with or attend meetings with staff in school, e.g. with subject leaders;
  • share ideas and viewpoints and make suggestions with regard to school improvement;
  • ask questions of the Headteacher with regard to the school’s performance;
  • ask questions of the Headteacher with regard to the effective use of the school’s budget;
  • share a collective responsibility with other governors;
  • disclose any business or other interests which may affect fair and transparent decision-making;
  • ensure that discussions, plans, school issues and documents are treated in the strictest confidence.

Governors should not …

  • work alone, arrange their own meetings or pursue their own personal or business interests/agenda;
  • see the Governing Body as a means to share their own grievances or complaints;
  • use the Governing Body to raise, discuss or pursue matters related to their own children;
  • canvass or seek the support of other parents to raise specific issues with the school;
  • disclose confidential information, plans or discussions to other parents;
  • get involved in the day-to-day management or running of the school, unless there are reasons (e.g. a number of complaints about an issue) to do so
  • act on behalf of or represent the school without the agreement of the Governing Body.

Governing Body Recruitment

When the Governing Body has vacancies for co-opted (appointed by the Governing Body and usually from the community or business), parent (elected by parents), LA (appointed by Manchester City Council) or staff (elected by staff) governors, we aim to appoint people who can:

  • commit the time to attending meetings;
  • commit the time to reading meeting papers, reports and policies;
  • keep up to date with relevant education legislation (with guidance from the Headteacher);
  • attend induction and ongoing training sessions, (including online, evenings and at weekend);
  • visit the school from time-to-time to meet with staff;
  • take on an area of interest as a named governor, e.g. special needs, mathematics;
  • be a link governor to a class (in the case of parent governors, usually not the same class as their own children);
  • listen, learn and ask questions of the school leadership (to hold leaders to account);
  • work with an appropriate level of literacy in English;
  • work with an appropriate level of numeracy, e.g. to understand data;
  • demonstrate good interpersonal skills and maintain positive relationships with governors and staff;
  • commit to working in the ways expected of all governors (e.g. professionally and collectively);
  • commit to the Governing Body’s Code of Conduct;
  • take a strategic overview of school matters rather than focussing on operational matters or the needs, priorities or issues raised from individual parents (this is the job of the Headteacher);
  • offer a particular skill, e.g. financial
  • represent the community, including people from different backgrounds and minority ethnic groups;
  • maintain confidentiality and have discretion in sharing Governing Body matters with others;
  • commit to a term of office of four years (although any governor can resign at any time before their term of office comes to an end).

Eligibility Criteria

Governors can only be elected or appointed to the Governing Body if they satisfy certain eligibility criteria and are not disqualified from the role for 1) general rounds, 2) grounds that apply to particular categories of governor and 3) ground that arise because of particular failings or actions on the part of the governor.  The Eligibility Criteria (and reasons for disqualification) for governors can be found here.  All school governors must have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. 

Code of Conduct

We expect all of our governors to:

  • conduct themselves in a professional manner;
  • work in a way that is appropriate to good governance;
  • maintain positive relationships with each other, with school staff and with parents;
  • act collectively, including with collective responsibility and decision-making;
  • never act, work or canvass the community or parents for their own interests, financial gain or family needs;
  • declare any personal, family, financial, business or other interests that may influence their decision-making as a governor;
  • never use their role of a governor for personal or family gain or to have influence over others;
  • never act alone or carry out work in the name of the Governing Body without the instruction or consent of the Governing Body;
  • maintain professionalism, confidentiality and discretion when discussing school governance outside the Governing Body, including with staff and parents.

The full Code of Conduct for Governors can be found here.

Governing Body Meetings

The main way in which governors contribute their time to the school is by attending Governing Body meetings throughout the school year.  The full Governing Body meets at regular intervals throughout the year (usually 3-4 times per term, including full and committee meetings) to discuss the school’s performance, issues, policies, budget and the school’s plans for forward development. The Headteacher provides governors with termly reports (verbal or written) about the school’s activities, successes and challenges.  Our Governing Body meetings usually take place at the school (although online at the moment due to COVID-19) on Tuesdays between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.  Meetings last up to two hours, depending on the agenda and volume of work required for discussion. Papers for all meetings are usually made available to governors during the week prior to the meeting. Full Governing Body (all governors) meetings are chaired by the Chair of the Governors. The meetings of the School Improvement Committee and Resources Committee are chaired by the appointed chairs of those individual committees. Minutes of all governing body meetings are taken by an independent clerk.  All correspondence between governors takes place via e-mail or shared access point.

 Governing Body Committees

In addition to ‘full’ meetings which all governors attend, smaller groups of governors (usually half the governors) meet in two committees (‘Resources’ and ‘School Improvement’) up to three times each year (usually prior and reporting to a full governing body meeting) to discuss, in more detail, curriculum development, assessment, standards, attendance, extra-curricular activities, finance, staffing, safeguarding, and other aspects of the school’s work.  These committees take a more detailed look at the school’s work so that full Governing Body meetings can provide more of a strategic view in the time available.  Committees sometimes therefore make ‘recommendations’ to the full Governing Body and for full Governing Body approval, e.g. statutory policies and the annual budget.  Governors usually work on only one committee and are asked to serve on that committee because of their special interest or simply to ensure their is balance of skills across the two committees.  Some governors, including the Chair of Governors, might sit on both committees.  Each committee has its own ‘chair’ who is not usually the Chair of Governors.

The SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE has oversight for and may review or consider at its meetings:

  • School Development and Improvement
  • The curriculum, its development and its assessment
  • Educational and Residential Visits
  • Leadership and Management
  • Subject Leadership and Development
  • Pupil attainment and progress
  • Pupil Attendance
  • Behaviour and Exclusions
  • Safeguarding
  • Learning Environment
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Social, Cultural, Moral and Spiritual (SMSC) Development
  • Promotion of Fundamental British Values
  • Looked-After Children
  • Internet and Media Safety
  • Equality Policy and Public-Sector Equality Duty
  • SEND Policy and Information Report *
  • Sex and Relationships Education
  • Collective Worship
  • Healthy Schools and related policies

The RESOURCES COMMITTEE  has oversight for and may review or consider at its meetings:

  • The School Budget
  • Financial Management
  • School Financial Value Standard (annual self-assessement/audit)
  • Financial and Risk Audit
  • Charging and Remissions
  • the school premises and its development
  • Health and Safety
  • Staffing structure 
  • Staff recruitment, retention and pay
  • Staff Performance Management
  • Staff Development
  • Pupil Premium and its effectiveness
  • PE and Sports Premium and its effectiveness
  • The website and its content (particularly statutory information)
  • Accessibility and Disability Plan
  • Wrap-Around Care
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Value for Money
  • School Meals
  • Complaints Policy

Governing Body Instrument of Government / Membership

The number and types of governors appointed to our governing body is determined by our Instrument of Government and is set in law.  As of Summer 2015 and the Instrument of Government agreed by the City Solicitor at that time, the membership of the Governing Body shall be:

  • 1 headteacher (ex-officio)
  • 1 Associate Governor (appointed by the Governing Body)
  • 1 staff governor (elected by staff)
  • 1 Local Authority Governor (appointed by the Local Authority/Governing Body)
  • 3 parent governors (elected by parents)
  • 6 co-opted Governors (appointed by the Governing Body)

Governors are usually appointed for a period of four years.  Governors will join the governing body at different times and each governor has a ‘term of office’ which determines when they must stop being a governor, unless, of course, they are re-elected (by parents or staff) or re-appointed by the Governing Body (Co-opted Governors) or Local Authority.

Current Governors (as of 01/09/2022)

  • Ian Beard (Headteacher), Ex-Officio (while in post)
  • Lisa Beattie (Co-Opted, Chair of Governors) until March 2024
  • Anna Bunney (Co-Opted), until March 2025
  • Ruth Butler (Co-opted), until May 2024
  • Andrea Gray (Associate Governor) until September 2023
  • Vicky Lopez-Thomas (Parent), until June 2024
  • Caroline Lord (Co-Opted), until January 2026
  • Peter O’Keefe (Co-Opted, Vice Chair of Governors), until June 2027
  • Gill Pritchard (Staff), until October 2024
  • Angela Rawcliffe (Local Authority), until January 2026
  • Rebecca Shearer (Parent), until November 2024
  • David Wright (Parent), until June 2024
  • Vacancy (Co-Opted)

Governors who have left the Governing Body in the last 12 months

  • None

Attendance at Governing Body Meetings

Governors are asked to attend all full governing body meetings (usually 5 per year) and the meetings of the committee (usually 3 per year) to which they belong.  The attendance record of governors at Governing Body meetings during the last academic year can be found here: 

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