The governing body works with the headteacher and staff to make sure the school provides a good quality education for its students, providing strategic direction to support the headteacher to make the operational day to day decisions.
The governing body has three core functions:
There are over 3,500 school governors in Cambridgeshire helping headteachers and staff to ensure children and young people get the best from their time in school, making up the largest volunteer force in the county.
You do not have to have children at school to be a school governor, nor do you need specialist skills (although you should have appropriate skills and experience that would contribute to the effective governance and success of a school). You do need to be over 18, satisfy eligibility criteria set by the government and have the interest and ability to listen, think through new ideas and decide what is best for the school as part of a team.
The composition of a governing body aims to reflect a wide range of groups from the community.
All schools have a number of places reserved for parents of pupils at the school. Parents will receive a letter when a vacancy arises inviting nominations. Where there are more parents wishing to serve as governors than vacancies, an election is held. If there are fewer parents than vacancies, parents can be elected unopposed.
Both teaching and support staff paid to work at the school are eligible for staff governorship. Staff governors are elected by the school staff – any election which is contested must be held by ballot. The headteacher is a member of the governing body by virtue of their office and counts as a member of the staff category.
Each school’s governing body has a number of governors who are appointed by the Local Authority (LA). Nominations to fill Authority governor vacancies can be made by the school or the local County Councillor for the area. Appointments are made on the basis of the individual’s interests and experience at work, home or elsewhere which may be relevant to being a governor.
Most schools (other than voluntary aided schools) have a number of places reserved for representatives of the community. These community governors are invited to join the governing body by the other governors.
If the school is supported by a foundation, which is normally related to a religious denomination, then some of its governors are appointed by that foundation. In the case of a voluntary aided school, the majority of governors are foundation governors.
The governing body must appoint a clerk to the governing body. Governors, associate members and the headteacher of the school cannot be appointed as clerk to the governing body.
The term of office for a school governor is normally four years.