The Role of the School Governor at Anglo

Government publications, and almost all the training available, describe the role of the school governor as being that of 'critical friend'. A critical friend offers support, constructive advice, a sounding board for ideas, a second opinion on proposals and help where needed. But a critical friend may also challenge, ask questions, seek information, improve proposals and so seek to arrive at the best solution.

According to Ofsted, the government body responsible for inspecting schools, the main roles of the governing body are to:
Provide a strategic direction for the work and improvement of the school
Support, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the school
Hold the school to account for the standards achieved and the quality of education

As Ofsted says, the role of governing bodies is a strategic one; school governors do not become involved in day-to-day management issues. The Headteachers, who in our school are members of the governing body, are responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school; and for advising on and implementing the governing body's strategic framework. In particular, the Headteachers formulate aims and objectives, policies and targets for the governing body to consider adopting; and must report to the governing body on progress at least once every school year.

Governors are responsible for setting up a strategic framework for the school, which means setting the school's aims and objectives, agreeing policies, targets and priorities, and monitoring and reviewing aims, objectives, and whether the policies, targets and priorities are being followed and achieved. The governing body takes advice on all this from the Headteachers before making its own decisions. There are, in addition, certain specific issues for which governors are legally responsible, but our main task as school governors is to set goals for the school, and then monitor progress towards such goals, with an overriding focus on the standards achieved and the quality of education provided by the school. We are particularly anxious in our school to ensure that our governing body considers education in the widest sense, which includes but is not limited to academic education. We are all committed to the school's international ethos.

The governing body's specific responsibilities include:
Responsibility for the conduct of the school
Setting targets in standards and achievement
Ensuring that the school has a curriculum policy, in particular the teaching of National Curriculum subjects and RE and deciding on provision of sex education
Ensuring policies relating to the school's operation are prepared and are reviewed regularly
Providing information for parents
Financial management
Personnel matters including senior staff appointments
 Management and maintenance of buildings
 Pupil discipline and behaviour
 Monitoring and evaluating the activities of the school
 Drawing up a plan after an inspection by OFSTED and overseeing its implementation.

Our Governing Body
Our governing body consists of 19 governors, plus the Co-Headteachers, who both participate in meetings, but who have only one vote between them, and an additional three associate governors. There are seven parent governors, elected by the parents of the school (or appointed by the governing body if insufficient people stand for election). There are three staff governors, elected by the staff of the school. There are two local authority governors, appointed to the governing body by the local authority. There are five partnership governors, appointed by the governing body itself; partnership governors must be members of the community served by the school but cannot be parents, staff or part of the local authority. There are two community governors, appointed by the governing body to represent community interests, who may be parents, but must not be school staff or part of the local authority. One of our associate governors has a community focus; the other two associate governors are appointed by the student body. The governing body may invite other people to participate in its discussions, although not to vote on decisions. We regularly have senior members of staff taking part in full governing body meetings, so will often have up to 28 people sitting around the table.

We meet at least three times a year as a full governing body; usually there are about five full meetings in the school year. In addition governors are usually members of at least two committees; most committees meet at least three times a year. A list of meeting dates is provided at the beginning of every school year although dates are sometimes changed, we try hard to stick to the dates given. Full governing body meetings are usually held on a Wednesday afternoon at 4.15 pm in the Eurolounge or the school library, and usually take about 3 hours. Committee meetings are usually held on a Tuesday evening in the Eurolounge (sometimes the school library), and start at some time between 5.00 pm and 5.30 pm depending on the committee; committee meetings usually take 1-2 hours. Governors are also invited into school from time to time for individual visits (an important part of the monitoring process), for governor training sessions, or for special events, like open day, concerts or festivals.