Chair of Governors

Being elected as the Chair of a governing body is an exciting opportunity but may also seem quite daunting.

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. There is a wealth of information to guide you.

The School Improvement Service

The School Improvement 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 head teachers and governors on the discharge of their responsibilities in relation the curriculum, school leadership and management and other associated matters.

Every school has a named Senior Education Adviser (SEA).  The role of the SEA 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".  SEA reports are completed after each visit and should be circulated to all governors.

This Service also has a dedicated Governor Support Team who are able to support you with all aspects of governance.  They offer a training package and can also provide bespoke support to the governing board.

Handling Complaints

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.  If you haven’t already done so, you might wish to undertake some complaints training.

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 SEA for the school.

Ofsted Inspection and school governance

The education inspection framework was updated in 2019 and sets out how Ofsted inspects educational provision in England. The framework is accompanied by four handbooks, one for each of the remits (early years, maintained schools and academies, independent schools, and further education and skills) setting out how inspectors will make each of the inspection judgements. Inspectors will inspect types of provision for which they have appropriate training and expertise.

As well as an overall effectiveness grade, inspectors will make graded judgements on:

  • The quality of education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal development
  • Leadership and management.

Inspectors will make a judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management by evaluating a number of areas.  Those that specifically refer to governance are: 

  • Those responsible for governance understand their role and carry this out effectively.  They ensure that the provider has a clear vision and strategy and that resources are managed well.  They hold leaders to account for the quality of education or training.
  • Those with responsibility for governance ensure that the provider fulfils its statutory duties, for example under the Equality Act 2010, and other duties, for example in relation to the ‘Prevent’ strategy and safeguarding, and promoting the welfare of learners.

Documents you may find useful

NGA - Role description for the chair of the board[ET1] 

What governing boards and school leaders should expect from each other - September 2019

NGA - Eight elements of effective governance [ET2] 

Ofsted - The education inspection framework 2019

Ofsted - School Inspection handbook

Ofsted - Early years inspection handbook