The Governance Handbook, published by the Department for Education (DfE), outlines the role of the governing body.
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
- Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent
It has a number of statutory responsibilities, most of them falling within one of these three areas. In particular, it is responsible for supporting the school in providing a learning and teaching environment that safeguards children, promotes their health and well-being, and encourages high expectation and achievement, as well as for setting the school’s statutory policies, and monitoring them in operation.
The governing body works at all times in close collaboration with the headteacher, who is herself a governor of the school. The DfE has published advice on The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013. The guidance says "the board of governors should operate at a strategic level, leaving the headteacher and senior school leaders responsible and accountable to it for the operational day-to-day running of the school."
At present, the full governing body meets six times in the school year. Each governor takes an interest in at least one area of the school’s work such as special educational needs and disabilities; early years; safeguarding and child protection; health and safety.
The clerk to the governing body arranges (in conjunction with the headteacher and the chair of governors) and publishes the agendas for meetings of the governing body, and prepares and circulates minutes of all meetings. They also circulate training opportunities for governors, and advise governors on legal and procedural matters.
New governors are elected for a four-year period; they are given a mentor and an induction programme, and attend training specially arranged for new governors.