Purpose & Activities
The purpose of the Governing Body
Grange governors are responsible in law for the school and we have a duty of care towards the children, their parents, staff, visitors and others associated with the school.
We make sure the school strives for high standards of educational achievement and conduct and ensure the school has:
- A clear vision of the goals and ambitions it wants for the children
- Robust plans for achieving its vision
- An ethos of high expectation.
The Head teacher has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the school – this is not the role of the governors. We hold the Head teacher to account, though, for what happens during the day, including the way the performance of staff is managed, and for the overall educational performance of the school.
The Governing Body also oversees the financial performance of the school and makes sure its money is well spent. To this end, governors work with school leaders to set and agree a balanced budget each year which supports the school’s aims. Throughout the year, we monitor expenditure and we compare the school’s value for money with that of other schools.
Individual governors do not have special authority – the Governing Body as a whole exercises its responsibilities. To help the Governing Body carry out its role, it acts as a ‘critical friend’ to the school. Governors provide challenge and support to the Head teacher and the staff and thus make sure that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory obligations are met. One approach used by governors to challenge and support the school is through asking probing questions during Governing Body meetings and visits.
Full Governing Body meetings
The full Governing Body meets five times a year. The main item on the agenda is the ‘Head teacher’s report’ when the Head teacher presents governors with an update of the school’s progress towards its plans, such as the annual School Development Plan, and its current achievements. This involves governors scrutinising the school’s performance data.
The full Governing Body delegates some responsibilities to committees and working groups and these are described below. At Grange there are currently two committees, Management and Curriculum & Standards, and all governors are a member of at least one committee. Reports of the activities of the committees and special working groups are also on the agenda of the termly Governing Body meetings. The Chair and Vice-Chair of Governors and Chairs of the two committees are elected by the Governing Body.
Management Committee meetings
The Management Committee meets four times a year. This committee reviews and makes decisions relating to all matters of staffing, including staffing structures, appointments, dismissals, redundancy, conduct and disciplinary matters. A ‘Staffing Sub-committee’, that reports to the Management Committee, scrutinises staff performance reviews, performance related pay recommendations and newly qualified teacher (NQT) arrangements.
The Management Committee also has responsibility for planning and reviewing long term financial policy, monitoring the school’s budget, prioritising spending and agreeing a draft budget which is then presented to the full Governing Body.
In addition, it is our job to ensure that the school buildings and grounds are maintained and developed to as high a standard as possible. We ensure that a healthy and safe environment is sustained in the premises for all users.
Curriculum & Standards Committee meetings
The Curriculum & Standards Committee meets once a term. This committee reviews and makes decisions relating to the school curriculum and the standards and outcomes of teaching and learning. We consider curricular issues which have implications for finance and staffing decisions and make recommendations to the Management Committee and full Governing Body. Teachers who lead on aspects of the curriculum and teaching and learning present reports of their work to the Curriculum & Standards Committee. These reports include progress towards the different parts of the School Development Plan.
Committee policy review group meetings
Governors help to set, and keep under review, policies that provide a broad framework within which the Head teacher and staff run the school. The review of the majority of policies is delegated to a small review group of governors, one group from each committee, which is convened each term. Governors take it in turns to sit on a policy review group according to which committee meetings they attend and any special responsibilities they hold. Once reviewed, each group takes its policies back to its respective committee for approval.
The frequency of review for policies varies according to the policy. Listed on the front page of each policy is the name of the committee by which it was approved, the date of approval and the next review date. Governors make sure that policies reflect both up-to-date Government Department for Education (DfE) statutory guidance and the school’s procedures and practices.
Full Governing Body monitoring visits
The full Governing Body visits the school for a morning or afternoon three times a year. During these visits, governors ask parents and children about their views of the school. They look at the conduct of the school and how the School Development Plan is helping children’s learning. Governors also meet external educational consultants who are carrying out reviews of the school and look at how the school’s policies are being put into action.
Special working groups, panels and responsibilities
The Governing Body convenes special working groups that meet to look at specific matters such as safeguarding, the analysis of pupil performance data and the school budget as and when they are needed. Governors volunteer to join these groups according to their background and skills.
Panels, such as those for appeals and for the Head teacher’s performance management, are also convened at appropriate times of the year. Governors elect the members of these panels. Furthermore, governors join panels for the appointment of new staff to the school and again volunteer according to their background and skills.
In addition, the Governing Body elects ‘named’ governors to take the lead on certain aspects of the school such as inclusion, safeguarding and health & safety. It is expected that each governor takes on a ‘named’ governor role.
Participation in school activities for children and parents
Children at Grange participate in a wide variety of activities beyond their normal classroom lessons, for instance, assemblies, school productions, sports events and competitions. School staff often invite governors to attend these occasions as and when they occur in the school calendar. Governors also attend meetings and workshops that school staff organise to provide information to parents and gather parent feedback.
As governors at Grange, we are committed to developing our role, carrying it out effectively and keeping on top of the rapid changes in education. It is our aim that new governors to Grange receive a comprehensive induction to meet their needs and we are proud of our new governor induction policy. We participate in a range of development activities such as one-to-one meetings, small group, committee and full Governing Body training sessions and on-line and Local Authority-led courses. In addition, we attend specific school assemblies, parent workshops and staff training sessions to help us learn about pertinent school initiatives. It is important to us as a Governing Body that we understand how governors would like to apply the skills that they bring and the areas in which they would like to develop and that they are able to contribute to the Governing Body appropriately.