Chair of Governors: Mrs Jane Owens MBE
Headteacher: Miss A Whelan
Clerk to Governors: Mrs K Draper
Information for Prospective Governors
Every school has a Governing Body which could consist of between 9 and 20 people depending on the size of the school. Weatherhead has 20 Governors made up as follows:-
- 7 Community Governors
- 2 Partnership Governors,
- 4 Staff Governors (1 Support Staff, 2 Teaching Staff and the Headteacher)
- 7 Parent Governors
The term of office of a Governor is usually four years, but Governors can resign earlier if necessary. It is estimated, that it can take a couple of years to fully get to know the job and therefore, Governors are encouraged to carry on for a further term of office if circumstances allow, although Parent Governors must be re-elected by parents of students at the school.
The Headteacher is an ex officio Governor. Staff Governors are either teachers or support staff at the school and are elected by their colleagues. Community Governors are appointed by other Governors as representatives of the wider local community, as business representatives, or because of particular skills they can bring to the Governing Body.
The Headteacher is an ex officio Governor. Parent Governors are elected by other parents, Staff Governors are elected by their colleagues and Community Governors are appointed by other Governors as representatives of the wider local community, as business representatives, or because of particular skills they can bring to the Governing Body.
As an Academy, being appointed as a Governor, also means you become a Trustee and a Company Director. (Please see links to ‘General Duties of Directors’ and ‘The Essential Trustee’ below).
Why do schools need Governors?
Every school has a Governing Body to represent the public in the running of schools. The Governing Body supports the Headteacher and staff and is accountable to its stakeholders for the school’s overall performance and for decisions it has made.
The Governing Body has a strategic role to promote high standards of educational achievement, ensuring that adequate plans are made and legal obligations are met. Governors will contribute to the strategic discussions at Governing Body meetings which determine:-
- The vision and ethos of the school
- Clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school
- That all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum
- The Academy’s budget, including expenditure of the pupil premium allocation, determining the staff complement and making decisions on staff pay
- The Academy’s staffing structure and key staffing policies
- The principles to be used by Academy leaders to set other Academy policies
- Will ensure the Academy and staff have sufficient resources and support required to do their jobs well, including external advice where necessary and suitable premises and that the way in which resources are used has impact
The Governing Body will be involved in the appointment of the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher and determine how the appointment of other staff will be managed. It establishes procedures for management of staff conduct, discipline and staff grievances. It annually reviews the Academy’s Performance Management Policy for staff appraisal.
The Governing Body will hold senior leaders to account by monitoring the Academy’s performance, this includes:-
- Agreeing the outcomes from the Academy’s self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the School Development Plan
- Considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of academy performance
- Asking challenging questions of school leaders
- Ensuring senior leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits
- Ensuring senior leaders have developed the required policies and procedures and the school is operating effectively according to those policies
- Acting as a Link Governor on a specific issue, making relevant enquiries of the relevant staff and reporting to the Governing Body on the progress of the relevant Academy priority
- Listening to and reporting to the Academy’s stakeholders i.e. students, parents, staff and the wider community, including local employers.
The Governing Body provides a sense of direction for the work of the school, Governors work together with the Headteacher as a team and support the work of the school as a critical friend; to hold the school to account for the standards and quality of education it achieves.
A good Governing Body will therefore:-
- Take a strategic view
- Be a ‘critical friend’
- Ensure accountability
Do school Governors need qualifications?
Schools need volunteers (whether parents or not) with experience of life, but some Governors may have qualifications/professional skills. Governors do not have to be educational experts, and are here to provide an independent view and common sense approach. Governors bring a range of experience and interests from many walks of life.
What you do need is: enthusiasm; energy; time; a willingness to be open to new ideas and attend basic training; along with good communication/interpersonal skills.
Being a Governor involves being committed and giving significant amounts of time and energy. There are also additional duties to have regard to under the Companies Act and the Charity Act. Careful consideration of these commitments should be made when agreeing to serve on the Governing Body (see below).
How much time does a school Governor have to give?
This depends on what you are able to offer. You will need time to attend at least one Full Governing Body meeting per term, this is a statutory requirement.
Most Governing Bodies have a number of Committees. This is the case here at Weatherhead. Governing Body obligations may have been delegated to Committees as appropriate. These Committees are usually made up of perhaps 3–5 members to look at specific areas of work, e.g. Finance & Resources, Curriculum or Staffing. The Committees make decisions on behalf of the Governing Body, or recommendations depending on its Terms of Reference. Most of the statutory termly meetings are held during the evening, but committees may meet in the day or evening.
As you gain confidence in your role as a Governor/Director/Trustee, it will be anticipated that you will want to join at least one Committee. Committees usually meet once or twice a term. You may be asked to serve on panels of Governors to appoint or appraise the Headteacher, set the Headteacher’s pay and agree the pay recommendations for other staff. You may also be expected to deal with matters regarding students or staff e.g. student exclusions or staff grievances or disciplinary matters.
As an Academy, Weatherhead Governing Body must work within its Articles of Association. The school and Governors are also subject to duties and responsibilities as laid out in the Companies Act and the Charity Act.
As a Governor, upon your appointment, you will also become a Director and will be registered as such against the Academy at Companies House. You must therefore ensure that there is no reason why you may not become a Director when considering applying for a Governor vacancy. You will also be appointed as a Trustee under the Charity Act involving regulations and monitoring by the Charities Commission e.g. ensuring duties regarding the spending of public monies by the school are in accordance with all rules, regulations and guidance. Details of general duties are set out in the two documents below entitled General Duties of Directors and The Essential Trustee. However, please do not be put off by these duties. Upon appointment you will receive a Governors’ Handbook and other information to assist you in your role. During your term of office there will also be regular in-house training sessions and training available from outside providers that you will be able to attend. Governors are encouraged to challenge or question any aspect they are unsure of during training, meetings, or upon receipt of information and the Clerk to Governors, the Chair of Governors or the Headteacher are always available to answer or clarify any question you may have.
Weatherhead’s Chair of Governors, Mrs Jane Owens, OBE, is a National Leader of Governance and will often be called upon to assist other schools improve their Governance. The Headteacher, Miss A Whelan, is a National Leader of Education and under her role within the Teaching School Alliance here at Weatherhead, will also provide support and assistance to schools. You will therefore be in good hands should you be appointed to the Weatherhead Governing Body! Once on board, you will have access to the Governors’ VLE area, which the Clerk to Governors maintains with updates, newsletters, ‘need to know’ documents/information and other resources Governors will find of assistance in their role.
So, in a nutshell, what does a Governing Body do?
The Governing Body has a responsibility to:-
- Promote and maintain high standards of educational attainment
- Agree the School Development Plan
- Set an annual budget detailing planned spending
- Approve a staffing structure
- Make sure that the curriculum is balanced and broadly based and report on students’ achievement and examination results
- Draw up an action plan following an Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) report
- Produce policies on a number of issues including Sex Education, S.E.N
- Appoint staff, ensuring the implementation of a range of personnel procedures
- Secure high levels of attendance and good standards of student behaviour
- Ensure the safeguarding and health & safety of students and staff
- Develop the strategic plan for the Academy, acting as a critical friend and ensuring accountability
- Deal with complaints against the Academy