Being elected as the Chair of a governing body can seem a daunting prospect but it is also an exciting opportunity.
You will have the support of your colleagues, the head teacher, the clerk and LA to enable you to discharge your duties and responsibilities effectively and to the best of your ability. To enable you to get started, the information below provides you with some basic information and guidance to assist you in your new role. The National Association of Governors (NGA) now produces a glossary of terms which you may find useful. Your school would need to be a member of the NGA to have access to this document. Further information and advice is available from the Governor Support Unit and your clerk and head teacher.
The information provided below is very useful for Head teachers as well as Chairs of governing bodies. If you are a head teacher the Governance Unit provide support, guidance and advice on all governing issues. If you contact the Unit we can arrange to visit the school to discuss any governance issues or arrange to carry out a Health Check with you, the Chair and Clerk.
The Chair of Governors and the Education & Skills Service
The Education and Skills Service is the professional arm of the Local Authority which monitors educational standards, quality and compliance with statutory requirements relating to the curriculum and school leadership and management. It provides advice, support and training for governing bodies, governors and head teachers on the discharge of their responsibilities in relation the curriculum, school leadership and management and other associated matters (including training days for new chairs of governors- see the governor training programme).
Every school has an Improvement Adviser (IA). The head teacher will be able to give you details of your IA. The role of the IA is to monitor standards and quality; provide professional advice; celebrate good practice; and the identification of any cause for concern acting as a professional "critical friend". The IA will be of great assistance to you in role as Chair especially in the performance management of the head teacher and providing records of visits to schools. IA reports are completed termly and should be circulated to all governors. This would not include the confidential information at the back of the document but all governors should be fully aware of the assessments made by the IA to help them to understand the schools strengths and areas for improvement.
From time to time schools receive complaints and it is a statutory duty of the school to have a complaints procedure in place. As Chair you will need to be aware of these procedures and may have to investigate issues if they concern the Head teacher or the complainant wishes to take the complaint to the second stage. Ask your clerk for a copy of the Complaint procedure for your school.
The Selection of a new head teacher
The selection of a new headteacher is the responsibility in law of the governing body. For more information on this issue contact your HR representative and the IA for the school.
Ofsted Inspection and school governance
The Ofsted framework for school inspection incorporates criteria for judgements to be made on school governance within the leadership and management section. These judgments will be made against an assessment of school performance within the criteria:
- How effectively governors help to shape the direction of the school
- How rigorously governors and supervisory boards challenge and support leaders and managers, holding the school to account for tackling weaknesses and further improved outcomes for all pupils.
- How well governors and any committees fulfil their statutory responsibilities.
Your IA will help you with this process. Ask your IA for the "Guidance on using records of visit to schools" document.