Becoming a Governor at The Willows Primary School
Welcome to the section of our website where you can find out more about the school’s governors, and the work that we do. This may help you to decide if becoming a governor is right for you.
Who can become a Willows Governor?
Did you know that school governors are the largest volunteer force in the county?
You don’t have to have children at the school to be a governor. You do have to be over 18, and pass a formal check for your suitability to be within school.
Schools need a good mix of people from their local community, from all walks of life, who can bring different viewpoints, experience, skills and fresh ideas with them.
They can be parents/carers/grandparents, staff at the school, resident in the locality or representatives of local churches and businesses. You don’t need to be an expert. What’s really important is that you have energy, enthusiasm, time and a real desire to help provide children with the best possible education. We do however ask for specific skills that are needed on the governing body when we recruit.
What really matters is working together as a governing body to do the best for the school.
What do Governors do?
Our main role is to support the Headteacher and the staff – the phrase often used to describe this role is ‘a critical friend’. We help them to set and reach targets and to strive for excellence across the whole spectrum of school life.
Our legal duties include:-
· setting strategic direction, policies and objectives
· approving the school budget
· reviewing progress against the school's budget and objectives
· appointing, challenging and supporting the headteacher
As a Willows governor we take an active and enthusiastic part in the life of our school. Examples of our involvement in school life includes:
· visiting school as 'Link Governors'
· attending assemblies
· watching performances
· conducting risk assessments
· visiting classes during the school day
· offering support and advice regarding premises issues
This is in addition to fulfilling their legal duties and responsibilities.
The governing body works with the headteacher and the staff at the school to make sure the school provides good quality education for all its pupils, and constantly strives to improve. Governors need an ability to listen, think through new ideas, and decide what’s best for the school as part of a team. They need to set high expectations and ask challenging questions, but are not expected to make day to day decisions about how the school is run.
The 3 key roles of a governing body are to:
· provide strategic direction for the school;
· support the headteacher, but constantly look to raise standards;
· ensure accountability.
This means that as a governor, you may get involved in:
· deciding how the budget should be spent and ensuring good value for money;
· making sure the curriculum provides for and stretches all pupils;
· making sure the school buildings are welcoming, safe and well used;
· setting and monitoring the school’s values, aims and policies;
· appointing staff and making sure the right development and reward arrangements are in place.
A governor does NOT:
· Write school policies;
· Undertake audits of any sort – whether financial or health & safety - even if the governor has the relevant professional
· Spend much time with the pupils of the school – if you want to work directly with children, there are many other voluntary
valuable roles within the school;
· Fund raise – this is the role of the PTA – the governing body should consider income streams and the potential for income
generation, but not carry out fundraising tasks;
· Undertake classroom observations to make judgements on the quality of teaching – the governing body monitors the
quality of teaching in the school by requiring data from the senior staff and from external sources;
In order to perform this role well, a governor is expected to:
· get to know the school, including by visiting the school occasionally during school hours, and gain a good understanding of
the school’s strengths and weaknesses;
· attend induction training and regular relevant training and development events;
· attend meetings (full governing body meetings and committee meetings) and read all the papers before the meeting;
· act in the best interest of all the pupils of the school; and
· behave in a professional manner, as set down in the governing body’s code of conduct, including acting in strict
How much time does it take?
· The term of office for a school governor is normally four years.
· Under usual circumstances, you should expect to spend between 10 and 20 days a year on your governing
responsibilities; the top end of this commitment, which equates to about half a day per week in term time, is most relevant
to the chair and others with key roles, such as chairs of committees. Initially, we would expect your commitment to be
nearer 10 days a year.
· You’ll need to be able to give some time to go to meetings and read the paperwork. We have a Full Governing Body
meeting once a term (about 2 hours) and you also join a committee(s) which usually meet once a term. It all depends on
the amount of committee work that you choose to do.
· Governors are allocated a link role with an area of school and visit the school twice a year to get to know and understand
how the school works, and to monitor school improvement. You may be invited to special occasions such as assemblies,
sports days, plays and presentations.
· You are also expected to attend two training sessions a year(usually a few hours each)
· Under Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, if you are employed, then you are entitled to ‘reasonable time off’ to
undertake public duties; this includes school governance. ‘Reasonable time off’ is not defined in law, and you will need to
negotiate with your employer how much time you will be allowed.
· Being a school governor is a real opportunity to use your experience and to learn new skills.
· The school and Governor Services will give you all the support and training you’ll need.
· New governors receive a welcome pack and a governors pack to support you.
How do I find out more?
Please contact either Mrs Michaela Pashley (Chair of Governors) or Mrs Warren (Headteacher) via the school office.