Code of Practice for School Governors
This code sets out the expectations on and commitment required from governors in order for the governing body to properly carry out its work within the school and the community.
The purpose of the governing body
The governing body is the school’s accountable body. It is responsible for the conduct of the school and for promoting high standards. The governing body aims to ensure that children are attending a successful school which provides them with a good education and supports their well-being.
The governing body:
• Sets the strategic direction of the school by:
o Setting the values, aims and objectives for the school
o Agreeing the policy framework for achieving those aims and objectives
o Setting statutory targets
o Agreeing the school improvement strategy which includes approving the budget and agreeing the staffing structure
• Challenges and supports the school by monitoring, reviewing and evaluating:
o The implementation and effectiveness of the policy framework
o Progress towards targets
o The implementation and effectiveness of the school improvement strategy
o The budget and the staffing structure
• Ensures accountability by:
o responding to Ofsted reports when necessary
o holding the headteacher to account for the performance of the school
o ensuring parents and pupils are involved, consulted and informed as appropriate
o making available information to the community
• Appoints and performance manages the headteacher who will deliver the aims (through the day to day management of the school, implementation of the agreed policy framework and school improvement strategy, and delivery of the curriculum) and report appropriately to the governing body.
For governing bodies to carry out their role effectively, governors must be:
• Prepared and equipped to take their responsibilities seriously;
• Acknowledged as the accountable body by the lead professionals;
• Supported by the appropriate authorities in that task; and
• Willing and able to monitor and review their own performance.
The role of a governor
In law the governing body is a corporate body, which means:
• no governor can act on her/his own without proper authority from the full governing body;
• all governors carry equal responsibility for decisions made, and
• although appointed through different routes (i.e. parents, staff, Local Authority Community, Foundation), the overriding concern of all governors has to be the welfare of the school as a whole.
• We understand the purpose of the governing body and the role of the headteacher as set out above
• We accept that we have no legal authority to act individually, except when the governing body has given us delegated authority to do so, and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the governing body when we have been specifically authorised to do so.
• We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.
• act and take decisions that are in the best interests of the school and not those of self, individuals or groups
• We will encourage open government and will act appropriately.
• We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the governing body or its delegated agents. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside the governing body meeting.
• We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other schools.
• We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of our school. Our actions within the school and the local community will reflect this.
• In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting the school we will follow the procedures established by the governing body.
• We acknowledge that accepting office as a governor involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy.
• We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the governing body, and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees or working groups.
• We will make full efforts to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend explain in advance in full why we are unable to.
• We will get to know the school well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
• Our visits to school will be arranged in advance with the staff and undertaken within the framework established by the governing body and agreed with the headteacher.
• We will consider seriously our individual and collective needs for training and development, and will undertake relevant training.
• As a governing body we will ensure we are knowledgeable of the procedures regarding safeguarding children and that the school follows these procedures at the appropriate times.
• We are committed to actively supporting and challenging the headteacher.
• We will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.
• We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all our communications with other governors.
• We will support the chair in their role of ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times.
• We are prepared to answer queries from other governors in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and we will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved.
• We will seek to develop effective working relationships with the headteacher, staff and parents, the local authority and other relevant agencies and the community.
• We will observe complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern specific members of staff or pupils, both inside or outside school
• We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school business arise outside a governing body meeting.
• Whilst governors are entitled to disclose the decisions made by the governing body, unless it was agreed as a confidential item by the governing body, governors are not entitled to identify the views expressed by individual named governors.
• We will not reveal the details of any governing body vote.
Conflicts of interest
• We will record any pecuniary or other business interest that we have in connection with the governing body’s business in the Register of Business Interests.
• We will declare any pecuniary interest – or a personal interest which could be perceived as a conflict of interest – in a matter under discussion at a meeting and offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time.
Behaviour when in school
• Governors do not have an automatic right to enter the school. However, they do need to have the opportunity to arrange visits to the school in order to see governors’ policies in action and to understand how the school works.
• We will respect the professional expertise of the headteacher and staff
• If a governor is going to spend time in a classroom, this should be discussed with the class teacher so that both are clear how long the governor is coming for, what they are going to look at and what they are going to do.
• Governors should understand that their visits do not replace professional inspections or the monitoring role of the headteacher. Governors should not make judgements about the effectiveness of the teaching that they see.
• We understand that any feedback regarding the day to day running of the school should be raised in the first instance with the headteacher or the governing body and not with any individual concerned.
• Governors have a responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of the school. Their actions within the school community should reflect this.
Breach of this code of practice
• If we believe this code has been breached, we will raise this issue with the Chair and the Chair will investigate; the governing body should only use suspension as a last resort after seeking to resolve any difficulties or disputes in more constructive ways;
• We understand that any allegation of a material breach of this code of practice by any governor shall be raised at a meeting of the governing body, and, if agreed to be substantiated by a majority of governors, shall be minuted and can lead to consideration of suspension from the governing body.
As a member of the Governing Body I will always have the well-being of the children and the reputation of the school at heart; I will do all I can to be an ambassador for the school, publicly supporting its aims, values and ethos and I will abide by the code of practice.