Governing boards are the key strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school, helping to set the school’s aims and values. In all types of schools, governing boards have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
These functions are reflected in regulations for maintained schools that came into force in November 2015 and in the criteria Ofsted inspectors use to judge the effectiveness of governance in both maintained schools and academies.
Governing boards have a vital role to play in driving up school and pupil performance and ensuring that resources are used well to give every child the best possible education. They also make decisions on matters such as performance targets, school policies, and the school’s development plan. They oversee the use of the school’s budget, and have responsibility to obtain value for money for that budget, and are responsible for the appointment of the head teacher. In addition, governors monitor, support and challenge the head teacher and staff on how well those policies and targets are followed through.
They do this by visiting the school, getting to know its strengths and weaknesses, and asking useful questions that foster an ethos of continuous improvement. Where physical visits are challenging, due to H&S, these are arranged virtually or outside of school hours.
To further understand the role of a governing board see the Governance Handbook provided by the Department for Education.