Responsibilities & Conduct of the Governing Body
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What is the Governing Body responsible for?
What do Governors do?
Governors Code of Conduct
Governors Standing Orders
What is the Governing Body responsible for?
All Governing Bodies of state maintained schools are responsible for ‘promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school’. [Education Act 2002]
Governors do that by working closely with the Head and school staff, giving support and encouragement but by also holding the school to account in those areas that affect the children’s education and overall welfare.
We have three core functions:
- To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- To hold the Head to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the performance management of staff
- To oversee the financial performance of the school, making sure any money is well spent
Ensuring the safeguarding of the children at the school is another important function of the Governing Body. Pupils need to feel safe at school and be given every opportunity to thrive and benefit fully from their education.
Over recent months governors have been working on a forward-looking vision for the school and we intend to develop our thinking during 2016. You can read our school vision here:
To summarise, governors aim to act as ‘critical friends’ to the school.
What do Governors do?
The full Governing Body meets five or six times each school year. At each meeting governors look back at matters that have arisen from previous meetings and check whether these have been addressed and what has been the outcome. The updated School Improvement Plan [SIP] will have been circulated before the meeting and governors ask challenging and probing questions about the priorities of the SIP and what progress has been made towards achieving the desired outcomes. Link to Full Governing Body Minutes
Much of the detailed work of the GB is carried out in the sub-committees; Curriculum and Standards [C & S}, Finance, Personnel and Welfare [F, P & W], Foundation, Premises, Admissions. Governors choose which committee they wish work on but committee meetings are open to any governor to attend. Link to Governing Body Committees:
To be fully involved in the life of the school, governors aim to visit the school whilst it is in session, both informally and for more formal visits. At times and with staff, we may speak with children about their experiences or visit classrooms to see some aspect of the School Improvement Plan in practice. These visits enable us to gain important background knowledge about the daily life and working of the school.
Involvement in the appointment staff is an important aspect of being a governor and each interviewing panel aims to include at least one governor, working alongside staff to select the best staff for the school.
Being a school governor is a demanding but very rewarding role. We are all volunteers and give willingly of our time and abilities to support the school and help staff deliver the best possible education for every child. If you would like to know more about becoming a school governor, please contact the Chair of Governors, via the school.
Governors Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct sets out the objectives and expectations for conduct of members of the St Ebbe’s Governing Body.
The Governing Body is a corporate body. Governors have equal status and have no authority to act individually except where the Governing Body has delegated authority to do so; their central concern must be the welfare of the school, its pupils and staff.
The Governing Body is responsible for:
- Establishing the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school
- Holding the school to account by
- Ensuring that operational practice is aligned to clear policy statements, which are consistent with the school’s vision
- Monitoring progress trends, and contributing to the school’s self-evaluation through visits and stakeholder engagement
- Managing the performance of the Headteacher
- Ensuring financial probity by setting the budget, monitoring spending, ensuring value for money is obtained and ensuring risks to the school are managed
- Ensuring that the school has identified what its Christian ethos means given its context and community, and that this is manifest in its culture, policies and practice
Code of Conduct
During their term of office, each member of the Governing Body agrees to follow the Seven Principles of Public life  , and to:
- Accept a fair share of the responsibilities and duties, including service on working groups, committees, as ‘named governors’, performing monitoring visits to the school and getting to know the school by attending formal events (e.g. learning exhibitions, community engagement events).
- Attend all three annual meetings of the full Governing Body in person, unless prevented by exceptional circumstances, and additional meetings of working groups in person / online as required.
- Check once a week for activity on the school’s online collaboration platform, and ensure they are set up to receive electronic notifications related to activities and teams they are involved with.
- Learn at a high level how the school works as a system, gain more detailed understanding for their particular areas of responsibility, and seek external sources of information for insights, ideas and validation.
- Participate in individual training and development as required.
- Information such as full names, date of appointment, terms of office, roles on the Governing Body, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing us being published on the school website and/or being collected by DfE.
- Record in the register of business interests any pecuniary interest they might have in connection with the Governing Body’s business.
- Declare an interest in any item of business and withdraw from the meeting while it is under discussion.
- Observe confidentiality as a matter of course, but particularly when explicitly asked to do so, for example regarding matters concerning staff, children or their parents / carers.
- Only use school-provided e-mail addresses for e-mail correspondence, and the school’s collaboration platform for file storage and online discussion.
- When meeting virtually, ensure they are in a confidential environment where the meeting will not be overheard, and do not record meetings without prior agreement.
- Keep discussion about decisions confidential even when decisions themselves are made public through the minutes of meetings.
- Exercise prudence when invited to respond in discussions and informal talk outside Governing Body meetings, and instead of passing individual comment, encourage issues to be brought to the attention of the Head or Governing Body (depending on the nature of the issue) through the proper channels.
- Build constructive working relationships with other members of the Governing Body to contribute to a cohesive team where relationships are based on trust.
- Express views openly at meetings but accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the Governing Body or by any individual governor delegated to do so.
- Remember that they represent the category of governor to which they were appointed / elected, e.g. they are a representative parent not a representative OF the parents.
- Relationships with the school and wider community:
- Develop an open and honest relationship with the Head and all school staff, acting as a ‘critical friend’ to ensure a balance is struck between offering challenge and support.
- Always undertake visits according to the schedule and protocol agreed in advance with the Headteacher
- Develop effective working relationships with other stakeholders as required.
- Consider carefully how their decisions and actions might affect others, both within the school and the wider community.
- Only speak or act on behalf of the Governing Body if specifically authorised to do so and respond to criticism or complaints about the school and / or its staff by referring the complainant to the school’s Complaints Procedure.
- Aim to discharge their duties in a manner that maintains and develops the positive Christian ethos of the school and its reputation in the local community and wider educational community.
- Not speak out against majority decisions in public or in private outside the Governing Body. If they have a concern they will speak to the Chair or Vice Chair of Governors.
Breach of the Code of Conduct
- If governors believe this code has been breached, they will raise the issue with the Chair, who will investigate; suspension or removal of a governor will only be used as a last resort
- If the Chair is believed to have breached the code, the Vice-Chair, or another governor, will investigate
 Also known as the ‘Nolan Principles’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2
Governors Standing Orders
The Standing Orders provide the high level objectives and operating procedures for the Governing Body, consistent with the statutory requirements specified by the Department for Education. They should be read in conjunction with the Governor Code of Conduct and Scheme of Delegation.
Statutory requirements referenced in this document are given by paragraph number against the following regulations:
(A) The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 (see here),
(B) The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013 (see here),
(C) The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (see here)
The Governing Body hereby resolves that:
Election and Removal of Chair and Vice-Chair
- The Chair and Vice-Chair will be elected annually (B.7) at the first Full Governing Body meeting of the academic year, to serve a term of one year. Staff governors and the Headteacher cannot be chair or vice-chair of the governing body. Governors will be able to submit written or verbal nominations prior to this meeting, including self-nominations. Additional nominations can be received on the day.
Where there are multiple nominees, they will be asked to leave the room while the election process takes place. This will involve a show of hands or a secret ballot (as agreed by the remaining governors). If a secret ballot is agreed the clerk will tally the votes and inform those present. In the event of a tie the decision will be based on the toss of a coin.
- The chair or vice-chair may be removed by resolution of the Governing Body (B.9), provided the matter is specified as an agenda item in advance. The Governor proposing the removal must at that meeting state their reasons for doing so, and the Chair / Vice-Chair be given an opportunity to make a statement in response, before withdrawing from the meeting.
Appointment and Removal of the Clerk to the Governing Body
- The governing body will appoint a clerk (B.10), who must not be a governor, an associate member, or the headteacher of the school. The governing body may remove a clerk from office by resolution. The clerk’s statutory duties are as specified in B.11.
- All governors agree to abide by the Code of Conduct. As a last resort, the Governing Body can suspend a member of the Governing Body for up to six months, for any of the reasons specified in B.17.
- A governor who without the consent of the Governing Body fails to attend Governing Body meetings for a period of six months is automatically disqualified (A. Sch4.9:2). Further grounds for disqualification are given in A. Sch 4.
- All governors must hold an enhanced criminal record certificate (DBS). Where a governor is elected or appointed and does not hold an enhanced criminal record certificate, the governing body must apply for such a certificate in respect of that governor within 21 days after his or her appointment or election (C.2).
Meetings and proceedings of the Full Governing Body
- All active governors, associate members and the Headteacher are entitled to attend all meetings of the Full Governing Body (B.12).
- The Full Governing Body will meet a minimum of once every full term (three times per year). Additional meetings will be scheduled to address specific topics as and when required. The agenda and papers shall be sent to governors seven days before the meeting. Extraordinary meetings of the Full Governing Body may be requisitioned by any three members by giving written notice to the clerk, who must convene a meeting as soon as reasonably practicable (B.13).
- Governors are expected to attend Full Governing Body meetings in person. They may attend remotely through video conferencing technology in exceptional circumstances and by agreement in advance (B.14:8).
- Consent (or otherwise) for absence will be a standard item on meeting agendas.
- Each governor must declare at the start of any meeting if there is an item on the agenda which poses a potential conflict of interest or where a fair hearing is required and his/her impartiality is in doubt. In such a case, the governor concerned must withdraw from the discussion and may not vote. In the event of a dispute the Governing Body decides whether the individual should withdraw. An annual register of interests will be maintained by the Clerk, and updated at the first Full Governing Body meeting of the academic year (B.16).
- Quorum for the Full Governing Body is seven. All matters are decided by a majority vote. In the event of a tie the Chair (or Acting Chair) has an additional (casting) vote, except in the election of the Chair / Vice-Chair (paragraph 1). (B.14)
- Draft minutes should be prepared by the clerk, shared as soon as possible with governors after the meeting, and signed by the Chair following ratification at the subsequent meeting. Signed minutes will then be posted to the school’s website for public inspection, with the exception of confidential items (e.g. items which refer to an individual parent pupil or member of staff), subject to FOI requirements. (B.15)
Delegation to Committees and Individuals
- Delegation of Governing Body tasks to committees, individuals and the Headteacher will be as specified in the Scheme of Delegation, which will be reviewed and agreed annually at the first Full Governing Body meeting of the academic year (B.18), and be compliant with the restrictions specified in B.19. Any governor, headteacher or committee who has been given delegated authority to carry out a Governing Body function must report any decisions or actions to the Governing Body (B.20)
- The governing body shall appoint a chair and clerk to each committee, neither of whom can be the Headteacher (B.22 & B.23). The committee will decide their terms of reference, constitution and quorum, which must be at least 3 governors (B.22).
- The agenda and papers for each committee meetings shall be sent to the governors 7 days before the meeting. Minutes of all committee meetings will be circulated to all governors (B.26)
- These requirements do not apply to other working groups that lack delegated powers (B.21)
- If it is not viable to call a meeting of the Governing Body at short notice, the Chair (or the Vice-Chair if the Chair is absent) may take urgent action in circumstances where a delay may be seriously detrimental to the interests of the school, any pupil at the school (or their parent), or any person who works at the school (B.8).