The Governing Board works in close partnership with the headteacher, staff, Diocese and the local authority. Whilst the headteacher is, of course, responsible for the day to day running of the school, the governors are involved with such things as staffing, curriculum, school buildings and finance. It ensures the school functions well and maintains the proper range of academic and social objectives.
All schools in England have a Governing Board, Governing Boards of Catholic voluntary aided schools are the employers and the admissions body for the school. The board consists of members drawn from a range of backgrounds including parents, staff, the local authority, the parish and wider school community.
Foundation Governors are appointed in the name of the Bishop by the Episcopal Delegate for Education and they form the majority of the Board. They have a legal duty to preserve and develop the Catholic ethos of the school and to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with its Trust Deed. Their responsibility is not only to consider the interests of their individual school or college but also the interests of other schools and colleges and Catholic education in general across the Diocese.
All maintained school governing bodies must have at least two parent governors.
Who are Parent Governors?
Parent governors are elected by parents of children at the school. For a person to stand for election and to vote in a parent governor election he/she must either be the natural parent of a child registered at the school, or be a person with parental responsibility for, or having care of, such a child.
In maintained nursery schools parents of children for whom educational or other provision is made on the premises of the school at the time of the election are also eligible to stand for election and vote in a parent governor election.
If there are insufficient eligible candidates for the vacancies at an election the governing body can appoint a parent governor, but there are restrictions on who can be appointed.
Governors normally serve for four years unless a shorter term is specified in the Instrument of Government for the school. If a parent governor ceases to be the parent of a child registered at the school within the period for which they have been elected, he/she may continue to be a governor for the rest of his/her term of office.
What are Parent Governors?
Parent governors have the same rights, responsibilities and duties as other governors.
Parent governors should play a full and active part in the governing body but,
Parent governors, like other governors, do not have the power to act as individuals or as a group, unless specifically authorised to do so by the governing body.
Parent governors are not on the governing body simply to represent the interest of parents, or to be the only link with parents because all governors must have regard to these issues.
What do governors do?
All maintained schools have a governing body which together with the headteacher sets the aims and policies of the school. The headteacher is responsible for the day to day management of the school. Together the governing body and headteacher must ensure the school provides good quality education and helps to raise standards.
The governing body:
How much time will it take?
To be an effective member of the governing body team, it takes time. You will need to prepare for and attend at least three full governing body meetings per year. You will also be involved in one or two committees dealing with finance, staffing, curriculum or premises. These usually meet at least once a term. In addition some governors take on other roles such as Special Educational Needs governor.
The amount of time you will need to give depends on how involved you become but governing bodies cannot operate effectively with passengers. You must be prepared to take more than an interest.
What support is available?
Lancashire County Council and the associated dioceses/church authorities provide a wide range of support services and training for governors.
All new governors receive an introductory pack of materials from the county council which outlines the range of training opportunities available to governors and governing bodies and provides the basic reference documents. There is also a termly newsletter which helps to keep governors up to date with recent developments.
Sometimes governing bodies have difficult decisions to take. In such cases the governing body has access to support and advice from the county council and the church authorities/dioceses as appropriate.
If you require more information about being a governor speak to the headteacher at your child’s school or contact Governor Services on 01257 516147, firstname.lastname@example.org .