The Role of the Governing Body

The purpose of having a governing body is to

  • Help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement
  • Keep the pressure up on school improvement.
  • Be a critical friend to the school, offering support and advice.
  • Help the school respond to the needs of parents and the community.
  • Make the school accountable to the public for what it does.
  • Work with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping the school under review.
  • Exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the headteacher and staff.
  • Not intervene in the day-to-day management of the school unless there are weaknesses in the school, when it then has a duty to take action.

A school's governing body is a corporate body. This means it has a legal existence separate from that of its individual members. As long as governors have acted honestly, without ulterior motive, and reasonably, within the law and regulations, the governing body cannot be held to account as individuals for any liabilities incurred by the governing body. Individual governors have no power except where the whole governing body has delegated a specific power to that individual.

If parents/staff of the school wish to have their views represented or conveyed at a governing body meeting, they should contact the chair, who will put it on the agenda. Governors deal with school policies affecting all children, and do not get involved in individual cases unless the school fail to deal with the matter to the parents' satisfaction, in which case the parent(s) must make a formal complaint to the governors, who will consider it as an agenda item.

Types of Governor

Foundation Governor

In Catholic schools, foundation governors practising Catholics appointed by the Diocese make up the majority. A foundation governor has a responsibility to preserve and develop the Catholic character of the school, but like all governors, also has to ensure high standards of educational achievement by the children.

Parent Governor

Parent governors are on the governing body to give a parental perspective to discussions and decisions. Parent governors are able to express their own views/opinions of an agenda item from the parental perspective, and may if they wish, voice the views/opinions that have been put forward by other parents, but are under no obligation to do so.

Staff Governor

Staff governors are on the governing body to give a staff perspective to discussions and decisions. Staff governors are able to express their own views/opinions of an agenda item from the staff perspective, and may if they wish, voice the views/opinions that have been put forward by colleagues, but are under no obligation to do so.

Local Authority Governor

Local authority governors are appointed by the Local Authority that maintains the school.