The Local Governing Body
Governing boards have a significant degree of autonomy in our increasingly school led system. They are the vision setters and strategic decision makers for their schools. They play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education that takes every child as far as their talents allow. Crucially, that means creating robust accountability for executive leaders by using and being familiar with objective data on the performance of pupils, teachers and finances to ask the right questions. It means ensuring resources are allocated to strategic priorities and safeguarding the highest standards of financial propriety – for example on executive pay and expenses and on related party transactions. It also means ensuring that schools prepare pupils for life and the workplace and implementing their Prevent duty and promoting fundamental British Values to protect them from the risks of extremism and radicalisation.
A school-led system doesn’t mean schools working in isolation; it means schools that are fully integrated with their local community and, crucially, connected with and learning from each other. I want to see more schools seeking out opportunities to collaborate. I believe there are still many cases in which pupils would benefit from their school being part of something bigger. Governors of individual schools, like parents and headteachers, can be passionate about their school. But pupils must come before adults. The academy sector is leading the way with 97% of all academies (other than free schools, UTCs and studio schools) which opened in 2015/16 now part of a MAT.
Working together is about better teaching and a broader curriculum for pupils; greater leadership and development opportunities for teachers; and more efficiency and impact from financial and other resources. These benefits are most fully realised when school-to-school collaboration is consolidated through formalised cross-school governance arrangements. When boards govern a group of schools we also then see further improvement in the quality of governance – as boards gain a more strategic perspective. All boards, however many schools they govern, need people with skills appropriate to the scale and nature of their role; and no more people than they need to have all the necessary skills to be effective. Many boards are already reaping the rewards of recruiting people from business and I call on more schools to make use of the DfE funded services from Academy Ambassadors and from Inspiring Governance, a new service from the Education & Employers Taskforce and National Governors Association.
(John Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, January 2017).
Our Governing Body is known as the Local Governing Body. Our Local Governing Body consists of nine members and has delegated responsibility to:
- act as a critical friend to the Head Teacher
- advise the Hub Governing Body (which is the body that governs geographical districts) about local issues they need to consider that affect our school
- represent the interest of our school community in the running of our school
- represent our school in the community
- provide support to the Head Teacher in undertaking appropriate day to day governance procedures that are essential to the life of the Academy. The main purpose of these roles is to enable our Local Governing Body to be able to express and act on local views and issues – views of parents and the community. One of the key purposes of our Local Governing Body is to ensure that our school is being a good ambassador for the aims of those in the Trust as a whole.
The five roles translate specifically into the following tasks that out Local Governing Body undertake:
- all aspects of the curriculum and curriculum delivery;
- it acts as a key link between our school and the local community;
- it supports the work of our school in the community;
- it supports the Head Teacher and school Leadership Team in the development and implementation of the our school Improvement Plan and other relevant plans, ensuring that the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership ethos remains at the heart of our school community;
- it helps on the ground with the implementation of certain school policies;
- it offers challenge to the Head Teacher; and it regularly reviews the school’s performance;
- it gives detailed consideration to those policies within its remit.
Effective governing boards are prepared and equipped to take their responsibilities seriously. The National Governor’s Association states that governing boards must have:
- the right people round the table with an understanding of their role and responsibilities
- a good chair
- good relationships based on trust
- a knowledge of the school – the data, the staff, the children, the parents, and the community
- a commitment to asking challenging questions
- the confidence to have courageous conversations in the interests of the children and young people
School leaders in return must have:
- an understanding of governance, including acknowledging the role of the school’s accountable body
- a willingness to provide information in the most appropriate way in order that the governing board can carry out its role
- a willingness to be challenged
- reasonable time to devote to ensuring professional relationships are established with governors and trustees
- the skills and understanding to develop effective working relationships with the governing board