School governors: Frequently asked questions

Table of Contents

1. Why do schools need governors?
Governing bodies represent the public in the running of the school. School governors bring perspectives from ordinary life. They work with staff and the Local Authority to help the school provide the best possible education for all children and young people. The governors have important responsibilities like managing the school budget, overseeing the curriculum and appointing the staff. There is a reciprocal accountability between the governors and the headteacher and leadership team. The head is accountable to the governing body and the governing body is judged by Ofsted, as part of the leadership of the school and on the extent to which it works in partnership with the head and leadership team. So really schools need governing bodies to be accountable and to support them in the work that they do.

2. Who can become a school governor?
Anyone who cares about children and young people and the education they receive can make a difference by becoming a school governor and helping shape the future for children and young people in their own local community.

3. What makes a good governor?

The most effective governors:

  • Care about children and young people.
  • Want children and young people to enjoy their years at school and achieve the best that they can.
  • Are keen to put something back into their community.
  • Are eager to be a part of a team with a common purpose and understand the importance of valuing different viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Understand the value of life-long learning and show this by undertaking relevant training and development opportunities.
  • Are willing to accept responsibility.
  • Are willing to ask questions and challenge the school when necessary - headteachers and leadership teams welcome challenge if the effect is to improve the life chances of their pupils.

4.   How much time does it take to be a school governor?

Governors need to be able to attend governors meetings, usually between three and six a year. They will also be asked to sit on a committee of the governing body that specialises in a particular aspect of the school, for example, the finance committee, the premises committee, the curriculum committee, or perhaps a committee or working party linked to a particular local or national initiative: perhaps The Every Child Matters Agenda.

Please contact us on 01628 796960 or email governors@rbwm.gov.uk , or of course you could just call into the school and ask. If you are a parent or member of staff, the next time you get a nomination form why not fill it in and join the largest volunteer group in the country.

5.  What do governors do?

 

Governors have three main roles:

 

The strategic role, which is about:

 

  • Vision for the school.
  • Developing aims for the school.
  • Planning so that all pupils can achieve the very best they can.

The Governors Role in School Improvement - the 'Challenge and Support' role, and in this role they:

  • Monitor and evaluate the school's work.
  • Visit the school.
  • Ensure that all meetings are effective by reading all papers prior to the meeting and preparing their questions and for areas that they would like to discuss at the meeting.

The Accountability role of the Governing Body which is concerned with:

  • Reporting on progress.
  • Reciprocal accountability between school leaders and governors.
  • The accountability to parents and the community they serve.

School governors make important collective decisions and the governing body is answerable to parents and the community. The responsibilities of the governing body include:

  • Promoting high standards of education and achievement.
  • Planning the school's long-term future.
  • Setting the school's aims and values.
  • Appointing senior staff including the Headteacher.
  • Budgetary allocation and control.
  • Deciding on the number of staff to be employed.
  • Making sure that the curriculum is broad and balanced.

6.   What are the governors' responsibilities for the school curriculum?

Governors take responsibility for all the learning opportunities that pupils experience including spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The governors must also decide a curriculum policy for their school, which takes account of the Local Authority's policy, the National Curriculum and technological advances. As nothing in this world remains the same, governors need to keep abreast of national and local initiatives and make any necessary adjustments to the curriculum to ensure that the curriculum prepares the pupils for the world they will live in as adults in the 21st century.

Governors are responsible for ensuring that children, young people, and adults in their school are treated fairly and with dignity and have equality of opportunity.

7.   What is the role of Governors' Services in the Royal Borough?

Our main purpose is to promote and develop excellent governance of all our schools so that all pupils have the opportunity to achieve their very best. We do this through providing leadership, support, information and advice to governing bodies and school leadership teams.

  • We support and guide governors with reference to procedures and legalities.
  • We are responsible for training and providing professional development opportunities for governors that enable them to do their work.
  • We ensure that the work we do is current - so there is a lot of research to make sure that we are up-to-date with the latest regulations and what is happening in the world of life-long learning - the game is constantly changing. Governors are no longer concerned only with the education of their pupils, they are also concerned with improving the life chances of all individuals within their communities. There is a great deal of work to be done in changing hearts and minds about the scope of the work of schools. The core work of a school is still to do with standards and ensuring that all pupils are able to achieve the best they can. Now it is also about harnessing many other things as well that have huge impact on ability to learn.

8.   What benefits are there for the people who volunteer to be governors?

Our main purpose is to promote and develop excellent governance of all our schools so that all pupils have the opportunity to achieve their very best. We do this through providing leadership, support, information and advice to governing bodies and school leadership teams.

  • We support and guide governors with reference to procedures and legalities.
  • We are responsible for training and providing professional development opportunities for governors that enable them to do their work.
  • We ensure that the work we do is current - so there is a lot of research to make sure that we are up-to-date with the latest regulations and what is happening in the world of life-long learning - the game is constantly changing. Governors are no longer concerned only with the education of their pupils, they are also concerned with improving the life chances of all individuals within their communities. There is a great deal of work to be done in changing hearts and minds about the scope of the work of schools. The core work of a school is still to do with standards and ensuring that all pupils are able to achieve the best they can. Now it is also about harnessing many other things as well that have huge impact on ability to learn.

9.   Does the Royal Borough need people to volunteer to be governors?

Yes we do, across the whole borough.

If there is anyone out there who would like to volunteer to support children and young people by becoming a school governor we would love to hear from you.

Please contact us on 01628 796960 or email governors@rbwm.gov.uk , or of course you could just call into the school and ask. If you are a parent or member of staff, the next time you get a nomination form why not fill it in and join the largest volunteer group in the country.

School governors : Contact details

For further information, please contact us by:

School Governors Service - Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Town Hall, St Ives Road
Maidenhead SL6 1RF
Telephone: 01628 796960