Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education. Raising educational standards in school is now a key priority. This has the best chance of happening when there are high expectations of what pupils can achieve.
Governors also promote effective ways of teaching and learning when setting the school aims and policies. They do this together with the head, who is responsible for day-to-day management of the school. Heads are chosen by governors - and most heads choose to be governors themselves.
Every school has a governing body. It will include:
- Parents elected by other parents at the school
- Teachers elected by their colleagues
- A governor elected by, and from, support staff
- Local education authority governors
- A governor from the local community appointed by other members of the governing body, and usually, the head teacher
They may also include representatives from the local education authority, church, charitable trust or business interests. Special schools may have health authority or voluntary organisation representatives.
Governing bodies are responsible to parents, funders and the community. Numbers vary depending on the school's type or size. Appointments are for 4 years.
The governing body's main role is to help raise standards of achievement. It:
- Is accountable for the performance of the school
- Plans the school's future direction
- Selects the head teacher
- Makes decisions on the school's budget and staffing
- Makes sure the National Curriculum is taught
- Decides how the school can encourage pupils' spiritual, moral and cultural development
- Makes sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special needs
Governors are at the heart of how a school operates. It's important that they get things right. How they do their job affects the interests of pupils, staff morale and how the school is seen by parents and others in the community.
Governors support and challenge heads by gathering views, asking questions and deciding what's best for the school. They are not there to rubber stamp decisions. They have to be prepared to give and take and be loyal to decisions taken by the governing body as a whole.
So long as they act within the law governors are protected from any financial liability for the decisions they take.