As from 1 April 2019, COGNUS is delighted to be providing Surrey County Council’s statutory responsibilities in relation to school governance. This includes the maintenance of a database of governor records, the nomination of LA governors, producing Instruments of Government and providing advice.
What do governing bodies do?
The school’s governing body is responsible overall for the conduct of the school and must lead the school with a view to promoting high standards of achievement. It should fulfil its functions in a strategic way. Broadly speaking governing bodies have responsibilities in the following areas:
- Ensuring the schools clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff, and,
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
How governing bodies are made up
Governing bodies have the authority to determine the constitution of their governing body. This is to ensure they have a dynamic governing body which is no larger than it needs to be, with governors and trustees who are actively contributing the relevant skills and experience. They are:
- Parent governors – elected by other parents at the school;
- Staff governors – elected by teachers and staff working at the school;
- The head teacher;
- Local authority governors – nominated by the local authority;
- Community/co-opted governors – representing the wider community, chosen and appointed by the governing body; and
- Foundation governors at church schools – appointed by the diocesan boards and church authorities.
- There may be other categories of governor depending on the type of school.
How governing bodies work
A governing body works closely with the Headteacher and makes strategic decisions collectively as a team. As well as through school visits, it conducts most of its business through meetings, making use of relevant information, data, guidance and advice from the Headteacher and other independent sources. Regular attendance at meetings is essential. Most governing bodies have committees that focus on curriculum, standards, finance, premises, personnel, teaching and learning. Governors will be expected to join at least one committee which best fits the skills they possess or are willing to develop.
Schools need governors
- Do you have skills and commitment to contribute to raising standards?
- Are you interested in education?
- Do you have the time to spare to attend meetings, usually in the evening?
- Do you want to put something back into the local community?
Would you like to play a part in contributing to the education service in Surrey?
Who can be a governor?
Governing bodies are made up of parents, school staff, persons nominated by the local authority, the Diocese for church schools and members of the local and wider community. Anyone over the age of 18 can be a governor, subject to some exceptions. All governors will be subject to a disclosure and barring service check and section 128 direction check. A section 128 direction prohibits or restricts a person from taking part in the management of schools and academies.
Governors come from all walks of life and different backgrounds and possess the skills required to contribute to effective governance and the success of schools. We want our governing bodies to reflect our community and we would encourage people from all sections of the community, especially the ethnic minority communities, to put themselves forward.
Do governors need any qualifications?
Governors do not need any formal qualifications – having relevant skills and experience, an interest in education, a commitment to prepare for and attend meetings, conduct school visits and attend training are as important.
How much time it will take
The minimum time commitment is 10-15 hours per term. This may vary from school to school so please discuss the level of commitment with the prospective school to ensure you have the time to dedicate to this key role. This includes meetings, background reading, school visits and training.
Length of office
Governors generally serve for a four year term but may resign mid-term if personal circumstances change.
Benefits of being a governor
Governors and trustees gain a great deal from the work and time they contribute. It gives them an opportunity to:
- make a difference to how well the school runs
- see how their efforts help raise standards
- do something positive for the next generation
- serve the local community
- help realise their own potential by learning new skills
Governors and trustees have skills to offer, however, many governors and trustees find that they gain personally too. From meeting new people to gaining new skills and most importantly the knowledge that you are helping to improve educational standards for children and young people in your area.
Many employers also encourage staff to become school governors and trustees. They realise that the skills gained from being a governor and trustee are transferable to the workplace. Please discuss with your employer what support they can offer you.
Yes I’m Interested in becoming a school governor in Surrey – what should I do now?
If you are a parent of a child at a school you should contact the school and explain that you are interested in becoming a governor and they will inform you of any vacancies. Schools must inform all parents of vacancies for parent governors and conduct an election.
If you are not a parent you may still contact a school direct or register your interest with:
or contact us below.
Tel: 020 8323 0450