The role of governors is set out clearly in education law. Essentially we have a general responsibility for the conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement and more broadly to ensure that our children stay safe, are healthy, enjoy and achieve and make a positive contribution whilst they are in school. Simple? Not really. There is a wide range of policy, practice and performance within a school for which the governing body, as a group, is ultimately responsible. Also as an aided school, we are responsible for funding 10% of any capital projects, such as the new classroom recently added to the school.
This can seem a daunting task, but, of course, a great deal of the implementation is carried out by the Head and her staff, be they in teaching, support or administrative roles, utilising the wealth of knowledge and experience they possess. Consequently, much of our time is spent asking questions, reviewing the impact of polices and practices and assessing the progress being made against targets and plans.
The key responsibilities considered at the regular meeting of the full governing body and of its sub-committees cover:-
- Target-setting for pupil achievement;
- Managing the school’s budget;
- Ensuring the curriculum is balanced, broadly based and in line with national requirements;
- Reporting National Curriculum assessments to parents;
- Appointing and monitoring the performance of the headteacher and a range of staff related matters, including polices on performance, grievances and pay;
- Ensuring provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs;
- Responding to findings of school inspections.
There are many practical aspects we get involved in as well. You will often find governors in school helping in the classroom, getting their hands dirty in various working parties – we find our arms twisted like everyone else! – and enjoying seeing the children excelling at both academic and extra-curricular activities.
St Mary’s governors come from a wide range of backgrounds. A number have educational experience, but others bring knowledge from and links with business and other walks of life. A significant number are parents whose children attend or have attended St Mary’s. Overall we share a common commitment to delivering the best possible education and a nurturing environment in which the children can learn and grow.