The role of a governor is to contribute to the work of the governing body in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children in Highnam Academy.
The three main responsibilities of every governing board are:
- Setting the academy’s vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the academy and its pupils
- Overseeing the financial performance of the academy and making sure its money is well spent.
1. As part of the governing body team, a governor is expected to:
- Contribute to the strategic discussions at governing body meetings which determine:
- the vision and ethos of the academy;
- clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the academy;
- that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum;
- the academy’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium allocation;
- the academy’s staffing structure and key staffing policies
- the principles to be used by academy leaders to set other academy policies
2. Hold the senior leaders to account by monitoring the academy’s performance; this includes:
- agreeing the outcomes from the academy self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the academy development plan;
- considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by academy leaders and external sources on all aspects of academy performance;
- asking challenging questions of academy 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 academy 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 on the relevant academy priority;
- listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders: pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community.
3. The governing body should ensure the academy staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.
4. When required, serve on panels of governors to:
- appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders;
- appraise the headteacher;
- set the headteacher’s pay and agree the pay recommendations for other staff;
- hear the second stage of staff grievances and disciplinary matters;
- hear appeals about pupil exclusions.
The role of governor is largely a thinking and questioning role, not a doing role.
A governor does NOT
- Write academy policies;
- Undertake audits of any sort – whether financial or health & safety - even if the governor has the relevant professional experience;
- Spend much time with the pupils of the academy
- Fundraise – this is the role of the PTA – the governing body should consider income streams and the potential for income generation, but not carry out fundraising tasks
- Undertake classroom observations to make judgements on the quality of teaching – the governing body monitors the quality of teaching in the academy by requiring data from the senior staff and from external sources;
- Do the job of the academy staff – if there is not enough capacity within the paid staff team to carry out the necessary tasks, the governing body need to consider and rectify this.
In order to perform this role well, a governor is expected to:
- get to know the academy, including by visits occasionally during academy hours, and gain a good understanding of the academy’s strengths and weaknesses;
- attend induction training and regular training and development events;
- attend meetings (full governing body meetings and committee meetings) and read all the papers before the meeting;
- act in the best interest of all the pupils of the academy;
- behave in a professional manner, as set down in the governing body’s code of conduct, including acting in strict confidence.
Under usual circumstances, a Highnam governor can expect to spend between 10 and 20 days a year on governing responsibilities; the top end of this commitment, which equates to about half a day per week in term time, is most relevant to the chair and others with key roles, such as chairs of committees. For an inexperienced governor, the commitment will be nearer 10 days a year. However, there may be periods when the time commitment may increase, for example when recruiting a headteacher.
Under Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, if you are employed, then you are entitled to ‘reasonable time off’ to undertake public duties; this includes academy governance. ‘Reasonable time off’ is not defined in law, and governors need to negotiate with their employer for time off.
Expenses: Governors may receive out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling their role as governor including incidental expenses, such as travel and childcare, but not loss of earnings.