School Governors need to establish working relationships with many different people. The key partners are identified below.
An effective relationship between the Governing Body and the Headteacher is crucial to the smooth running of any school. The Headteacher will normally be a member of the Governing Body and participate in the discussions and decisions the Governing Body reaches. The Headteacher will be the key communication and information channel between the Governing Body and the school and will be able to ensure that the Governing Body has the information it requires to undertake its full duties.
The Local Authority
The Local Authority (LA) has a Governors’ Support Service that will often be the first port of call for School Governors who have queries and questions about their own or the Authority’s role. The LA will provide information and support to the Governing Body; however, there is also a requirement on Governing Bodies to provide information about the school back to the LA.
Some of the key roles that the LA has in working with Governing Bodies and schools are:
overseeing the school’s standards and effectiveness
intervening in schools who may be getting into difficulties
providing training and advice to Governors and school staff
- determining arrangements for the auditing of school accounts
As part of the Governing Body’s responsibilities they must decide which ‘traded services’ they wish to purchase from the LA on an annual basis. Where they choose to purchase a service then they will be able to ask for specific support, guidance and advice from the LA in this area. If the Governing Body decides not to purchase a service, then they will need to seek alternative arrangements for such advice.
The Clerk [to the Governing Body]
The Clerk is an invaluable resource for a Governing Body to run effectively. The Clerk will Minute the meeting but also advise School Governors on constitutional issues, statutory duties and powers of the Governing Body.
The Governing Body will decide on an annual basis whether they wish to buy into the Local Authority’s Governors’ Support Service which includes a four tiered clerking service package for Governing Body meetings. Additional services are available to purchase at an extra cost.
It is good practice for Governing Bodies to seek, and consider, the views of pupils in some decisions that may directly affect them. One way of doing this can be for members of the Governing Body to meet with the School Council or for members of the School Council to be invited to attend Governing Body meetings for relevant agenda items.
The Governing Body should seek parental views and concerns about the school. This can be done via the Parent Governor representatives on the Governing Body but may also be done via parents' meetings or parental questionnaires.
School Governors should be aware that in some instances there is a statutory requirement to consult with parents before the Governing Body makes a decision.
Schools are a very important part of the local community and will often offer the use of facilities to community groups. It is the Governing Body’s responsibility to agree the terms of any lettings or use of facilities.
School Governors should take appropriate opportunities to raise the profile of the school within the community and to ensure that the school holds a positive reputation within the community.
Contact the Governors' Support Service, via:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- tel: 01302 737111 or 737193 or 737192