Governors have three core functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision ethos and strategic direction
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the performance management of staff
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
School governance is not a role to be undertaken lightly
Governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. Governors appoint the head teacher and deputy headteacher. In some schools the site is owned by the governing board. It is the governors who hold the main responsibility for finance in the school and it is governors who work with the headteacher to make the tough decisions about balancing resources.
The day-to-day running of the school – the operational responsibility sits with the head teacher. The head works to the strategic framework established by the board .It is important for governors to spend their time concentrating on strategic priorities and the progress children are making rather than management tasks that should be carried out by the Leadership team of the school.
Whatever type of school you are a governor in there are eight elements to effective governance as identified by the NGA. These eight elements are needed to transform the team of diverse people into a highly effective governing board
- the right people around the table
- understanding the roles and responsibilities
- good chairing
- professional clerking
- good relationships based on trust
- knowing the school- the data, the staff, the parents, the children, the community
- committed to asking challenging questions
- confident to have courageous conversations in the interest of children and young people
Without these elements in place a board will not be able to play its full part. With increased autonomy for schools strong governance is even more vital. Collaboration with schools is often the way to learn better ways of doing things.
Excerpts from the NGA National Governors Association