What do governing bodies do?
Governing boards are the strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school and academy. They play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education for every child by creating robust accountability for school leaders. Crucially, that means using and being familiar with objective data on the performance of pupils, teachers and finances to ask the right questions and ensure resources are allocated to school priorities. It also means ensuring that schools prepare pupils for life and the workplace by building their character and resilience and by implementing their Prevent duty to protect them from the risks of extremism and radicalisation. Governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
Governing bodies are the key strategic decision-making body of every school. It is their role to set the school’s strategic framework and to ensure all statutory duties are met. The governing body should ensure that the school has a medium to long-term vision for its future. The governing body should also ensure that there is a robust strategy in place for achieving its vision. This strategy should address the fundamental questions of where are we now, where do we want to be, and how are we going to get there.
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff.
Governing bodies should work to support and strengthen the leadership of the Headteacher, and hold them to account for the day-to-day running of the school, including the performance management of teachers. Governing bodies should play a strategic role, and avoid routine involvement in operational matters.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
Governing bodies are responsible for making sure their school’s money is well spent. They should do this by making sure they have at least one governor with specific skills and experience of financial matters, and by asking questions such as:
- Are we allocating our resources in line with our strategic priorities?
- Are we making full use of all our assets and efficient use of all our financial resources?
- Are other schools buying things cheaper or getting better results with less spending per pupil?
- How can we get better value for money from our budget?
Source: DfE, Governance Handbook, November 2015
The Governing Board of The Aylsham Learning Federation