Presentation on theme: "Governor Induction For Ceredigion Governors 1. Thank you for agreeing to serve as a member of a Governing Body. The Local Authority, the Headteacher and."— Presentation transcript:
Governor Induction For Ceredigion Governors 1
Thank you for agreeing to serve as a member of a Governing Body. The Local Authority, the Headteacher and Staff at the School are appreciative of the time you are giving, on a voluntary basis, to fulfil your role as Governor to a School. In order to support you as a new Governor, we have provided you with the School Governor Handbook, the Governor Training Timetable and the name of your Mentor who is the Governor Responsible for Mentoring / Induction on the Governing Body. This PowerPoint presentation will also provide you with the necessary information and support to fulfil your new role with confidence. In this presentation we aim to provide you with an understanding of the composition of Governing Bodies, demonstrate how Governing Bodies carry out their duties, explain the difference between School Management and School Governance and explore some of the key roles of Governors. When the slide number appears at the bottom of the screen, please click the mouse to move on to the next slide. Welcome 2
Before looking at the work of School Governors, it is good to consider the main responsibilities of a School Governing Body. The three statutory roles of a School Governing Body are: With the School senior staff, set the strategic plans for the School which includes aims, objectives and targets; Acting as a ‘Critical Friend’, ask the School management team challenging questions in a supportive manner on their running of the School and the School’s overall performance and targets; Being accountable and explaining actions and decisions to all School stakeholders by fulfilling the first two responsibilities in an effective and supportive way. As these are clearly important roles, Governors have important powers and duties in order to fulfil them. The Governing Body – Powers and Duties Core Responsibilities Standards – ensuring a strategic and systematic approach to promoting high standards of educational achievement, attendance and behaviour including rigorous review of published performance data; Targets – acting as a ‘critical friend’ and setting targets by which progress for pupil achievement and outcomes can be measured; Curriculum – ensuring that all learners have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, and that all statutory requirements are met; Determining the aims, policies and priorities of the School – involvement of the Governing Body in discussion on the School Development Plan, School Self-Evaluation, renewal and approval of statutory policies and documents; Finance – monitoring the School’s budget; Staffing – deciding the number of staff, the pay policy and making decisions on staff pay, staff appointments, suspension, disciplinary issues and dismissal, grievances, performance management and matters affecting the work/life balance of the Headteacher and Staff; Providing parents with information regarding the School – via an Annual Report to parents and at any meetings with parents which have been requested; Inspection preparation and follow up e.g. Estyn; Wellbeing and safeguarding of learners including the promotion of healthy eating; Awareness of Governors’ responsibilities in equality matters and where to seek advice; Evaluation of the performance of the governing body as and when required. 3
There are different types of School Governor on School Governing Bodies. Headteacher; Parent – Parent Governors are elected as representatives of the interests of Pupils currently attending the School. A Parent Governor can continue to serve as Governor until the end of their four year term of office, even if their child leaves the School during the period; Teacher – Teacher Governors are elected as representatives of the interests of the Teaching Staff of the School; Staff (i.e. non-teachers who work at the School) – Staff Governors are elected from among the Support Staff at the School. They may be Staff employed either under a contract of employment or a contract for services at the School; Local Authority Community (on all School Governing Bodies except Voluntary Aided Schools) – these Governors are invited by other Governors to join the Governing Body. Community Governors can act as a link with the community in which the School serves. Foundation Governors (on Voluntary Aided, Foundation and Voluntary Controlled Schools) – They ensure that the School preserves its particular religious character or that it is conducted in accordance with the terms of a trust deed. Each Governing Body of Schools in Wales has at least one Parent Governor, Teacher Governor, Staff Governor, Local Authority Governor and Community Governor, as it is felt that every group has an interest or stake in the School and therefore should be represented on the Governing Body. Primary Schools which are situated in a Community Council area will have additional Community Governors. Foundation, Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled Schools will also have additional Governors known as Foundation Governors. It is important to remember that Foundation Governors of Schools with a Religious Character have a particular role in protecting the ethos of their School’s faith. Although there are no Pupil Governors in Primary Schools, Secondary School Governing Bodies have associate Pupil Governors who must be in Years 11, 12 or 13. These associate Pupil Governors do not have voting rights. The Headteacher does not have to be a Governor, although they still have to attend Governing Body Meetings. With the exception of the Headteacher, the period of Office for a Governor is four years. Parent, Teacher and Staff Governors are all elected by the group they represent, while Local Authority Governors are appointed by the Local Authority and Community Governors are appointed onto Governing Bodies by other members of the Governing Body. The size of the Governing Body will reflect the size of the School, with the biggest Governing Bodies having 21 Governors and the smallest 9. The Composition of School Governing Bodies 4
Time The amount of time you would need to devote to School Governance will vary enormously depending on the type of issues your School may be facing. By law, the Full Governing Body must as a minimum meet three times a year – once a term. The length of these meetings vary depending on the issues being discussed. The average meeting is between 1 and a half – 2 hours in length. Typical agenda items will include: Headteacher’s Report, School Self Evaluation Report, Committee Reports, School Data and Performance. Other times Governors should expect to spend time is during Committee Meetings. Governors usually serve on at least one or, more usually, two of these committees. The number of times a committee meets will depend very much on the issues it may be working on. Governors are also expected to spend time supporting the School by attending School functions and if possible, visiting the School during the School day to see the School in action. Governors are also required to attend mandatory training courses. These include School Data Training and Chairs Training (for Chairmen). All Governors will be encouraged to attend other training courses that are available.Organisation Around two weeks before the Governing Body Meeting, you will receive the Agenda for the meeting, a copy of the Minutes from the previous meeting and any accompanying papers. You should always read these to familiarise yourself with what is going to be discussed at the meeting. A Governing Body Meeting must have a quorum in order to carry out its work. This is 50% of the Governing Body Membership rounded up to the whole number, excluding associate pupil governors, suspended governors and vacancies. Apologies should be submitted prior to a meeting to the Chair or Clerk, and recorded in the minutes. Provided that the governing body has consented to the non-attendance by accepting the apologies, and this is recorded in the minutes, Governors cannot be disqualified. How Governing Body Meetings Work 5
The three key players in the successful running of a Governing Body meeting are the Chair, the Headteacher and the Clerk. The Chairman The Chair has a number of important duties such as working well with the Headteacher to provide challenge and support and acting as the Governing Body spokesperson. At meetings, it is the Chair who runs the Meeting and provides a clear lead in organising the Governing Body’s work. The Chair will manage the Meeting effectively and ensure that all Governors are fully informed and involved in the meeting to enable the Governing Body to work as a team. (S)he should introduce each Agenda item and decide when to move from one Agenda item to the next. It is also the Chair who acts as a spokesperson on behalf of the governing body and will invite other Governors to contribute. The Chair maintains an effective relationship with the Headteacher whilst also providing strategic challenge and support. The Chair will also make good use of the skills and expertise of the members of the Governing Body. The Chair is also the person you should contact if you want an item put on the Agenda of Governing Body Meetings. The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected by the Governing Body annually at the first Governing Body Meeting of the Academic Year (Autumn Term). The Headteacher The Headteacher is the representative of the School and will have the most detailed and extensive knowledge of what the School is doing and how it is going about its work. (S)he is the person who will be able to answer questions about the School. The Agenda item ‘Headteacher’s Report’ will appear on every termly Governing Body meeting Agenda. You will usually receive a written report during the Meeting or sometimes as an attachment with your Agenda. The Headteacher will report to Governors but also involve Governors closely in the running of the School. The Clerk The Clerk convenes Governing Body Meetings and distributes the Agenda and other papers. The Clerk also takes Minutes of the Meeting and retains registers of Governing Body business such as membership and attendance. A Clerk is not a Governor. This means (s)he does not take part in discussions and certainly cannot be involved in any decision making. However, Clerks are likely to have a sound knowledge of Meeting procedure and may be asked (or may point out) if what the Governing Body is doing is procedurally and/or legally correct. The Clerk is accountable to the Governing Body and works closely with the Chair, the Headteacher and other Governors on certain tasks. Key Players 6
It is important to remember that Governors are elected or appointed to help the Headteacher and Staff in the strategic running of their School and also to hold the Headteacher accountable for the way (s)he runs the School and for the School’s overall performance. The main reason for this is that the Governing Body is accountable to parents and other stakeholders for the School’s performance. It is not possible to carry out these functions unless Governors take an active part in Governing Body Meetings. It is important to remember that your views will be valued, especially by the Headteacher who will welcome input from a voice which is outside the School for a different perspective from senior management. It is important that you have a clear understanding of issues being discussed so if there is something said that you don’t understand then it is essential that you ask for an explanation. Asking questions at Governing Body Meetings should not simply be limited to helping Governors understand issues. Asking thoughtful, searching questions of the Headteacher or Committees in a supportive manner is of the highest importance as it can help ensure that the very best is being done for the School and its pupils. In your School Governors Handbook, under Appendix 4, you will find a list of questions you may ask which are aimed to evaluate how well the School is doing in order to maintain / improve standards, and also to help hold the School accountable for what it does. Meetings Responsibilities Certain Governors carry out specific roles. These are appointed to Governors during the first full Governing Meeting of the Academic Year (Autumn Term), and will include: Safeguarding / Child Protection; Special Educational Needs; Health and Safety; Workload Agreement; Training / Induction of New Governors; Corporate Parenting; Whistleblowing; Attendance Matters. These Governors are usually referred to as Link Governors. Link Governors are used to share the workload more effectively. It is considered good practice for Link Governors to visit Schools and provide a report to the remaining Members of the Governing Body. 7
The difference between School Governance and School Management means, in its simplest form, that the Governing Body is involved in helping work out long-term plans with the Headteacher, School Senior Management Team and possibly the Staff. This should be evident in the School Development Plan. This long-term planning is known as ‘Strategic Planning’. The Headteacher manages the School. The Governing Body plays no part in putting the plans into operation. The Headteacher is responsible for the internal day to day organisation, management and control of the School and the implementation of the Strategic Framework established with the Governing Body. If a parent approaches you to discuss their child’s progress and states that they want action taken, it is important to remember that this is a case of day to day organisation, management and control of the School which is the Headteacher’s responsibility. Governors operate at a Strategic Level and are not involved in micro-management, that is, the daily running of the School. Although Governors are not involved in putting plans into operation, the Governing Body should monitor how well the plans are going and what impact they are having by asking the Headteacher searching questions (but in a supportive and non-confrontational manner). However, there are occasions when Governors will be drawn more closely into School Management. Governing Body Committees like Health and Safety and Finance will consider the details of certain areas of management. There will inevitably be occasions during the general work of Governors when the distinction between Governance and Management become blurred, when during discussions at Governing Body Meetings, for instance, talk moves from general Strategic Plans into the way they are operating on a day to day basis. When that happens, first of all be aware of it, and secondly remember that your role is oversight of the way the School is managed not actually managing yourself. School Governance / School Management 8
It is important to remember to be Flexible, be Realistic and be Understanding when it comes to dealing with planning. Strategic Planning is: The long-term planning of broad issues to achieve goals (‘the big picture’). The Vehicles for Strategic Planning is the School’s Mission Statement or Motto, and the School Development Plan or the Inspection Action Plan. Although the Mission Statement or Motto is not a plan, it is often a long term aim, or a statement of what the School values. Statutory requirements place obligations on governing bodies and Headteachers in relation to areas which are key to strategic planning: School performance and target-setting: there is a statutory obligation, set out in the School Performance and Absence Targets (Wales) Regulations 2011, for governing bodies to set key stage performance targets and submit them to Local Authority. Governors’ annual report: School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) Regulations 2011 state schools should produce an annual report setting out the school’s progress since the last annual report; Performance Management: in 2011 revised performance management Regulations came into force (School Teacher Appraisal (Wales) Regulation 2011) which strengthen the performance management of Headteachers and teachers by linking review procedures and individuals’ objectives to whole-school priorities, as set out in the school’s improvement plan (SIP). School Development Plans (SDP): The Education (School Development Plans (Wales) Regulations 2014) impose a duty on the governing body to draw up a SDP which is a strategic plan over a three year period for improvement, informed by self- evaluation of school performance and contextual data. It will contain the school’s improvement priorities, short and long term targets, together with a plan for how to achieve them. It is a live document that is used for reference point by all staff and governors in reflecting upon and improving their work. Governing Bodies must revise it annually, and include a summary of the plan in their Annual Report. Strategic Planning 9
As previously mentioned there are both Statutory and Non-Statutory Committees on a Governing Body. Minutes of these Committees may be seen as an Agenda item to be discussed or distributed for discussion during Meetings. Governing Body Committees are set up at the first Governing Body Meeting of each Academic Year. The Statutory Committees are: o Staff Disciplinary and Dismissal Committee; o Staff Disciplinary and Dismissal Appeals Committee; o Pupil Discipline and Exclusions Committee. o Headteacher and Deputy Appointment Panel; o Headteacher Performance Management Appraisers and Appeal Appraiser(s); o Pay Review and Pay Review Appeals Committees; o Grievance and Grievance Appeals Committees; o Capability and Capability Appeals Committees; o Complaints Committee; o Finance Committee; o Curriculum Committee; o Health and Safety Committee. There is no limit on how many committees a Governing Body can establish. It is necessary for Governing Body Committees to have a Terms of Reference in order to operate. These include the number of Members who must be present to make up a quorum. Committees are made up of a small number of Governors and have a Chair. Their discussions and recommendations should be recorded and fed back to the full Governing Body meeting. School Policies are reviewed annually. Statutory Policies are those that the Governing Bodies of Schools have a duty to produce and adopt for their Schools. These are not to be confused with other policies determined nationally and for which the Governing Body has a statutory duty to implement. Governors must consider the Admissions Policy for the School. In the case of Maintained Schools, this will involve an Annual Consultation exercise undertaken by the LA concerning its policies for the admission of Pupils to Schools. Committees and Policies 10
11 List of Statutory Policies and Documents Admissions Policy; Charging Policy; Child Protection Policy; Complaints Procedure; Curriculum Policy; Data Protection Policy; Equality Policy; Health and Safety Policy; Pay Policy; Performance Management Policy; Pupil Discipline Policy (including Anti-Bullying); School Session Times; Sex Education Policy; Special Educational Needs Policy; Staff Discipline, Conduct, Capability and Grievance Procedure; Accessibility Plan; Action Plan following an Inspection; Careers Education; Freedom of Information Publication Scheme; Governors’ Allowances (Schemes for Payments); Governors’ Annual Report to Parents; Home – School Agreements; Instrument of Government; Minutes of and Papers considered at meetings of the Governing Body and its committees; School Prospectus; Register of Pupils; Register of Business Interests of Headteachers and Governors; Target-Setting for Schools; Transition Plans These Policies and Documents are available for you to access through the Headteacher at the School.
12 Visiting the School Many Schools will have a policy or protocol in place for Governor visits to the Schools. You should arrange with the Headteacher, a mutually convenient date and time when you can learn about the School’s day to day work. If you have not been invited but wish to visit the School, you should tell the Headteacher of any specific purpose for your visit when you are arranging the appointment. If you are a Governor, but also have a child in the School, you are probably a frequent visitor to the School in your role as a parent. If this is the case, it is especially important that both the Headteacher and Staff of the School can clearly distinguish between your ‘official’ visits as a Governor of the School and those in your capacity as a parent. On arriving at the School for your visit, you must first report to the School Office or Secretary. This is not only courteous to the Headteacher and the Staff but also contributes to the security of the School. Most teachers will be delighted to meet a Governor who is showing a genuine interest in their work and that of the Pupils. However, they will invariably want to prepare for your visit, for example, by arranging for samples of pupils’ work to be available for you to see. Many teachers will welcome their Governors observing their lessons. However, you will be wise to always ensure that you negotiate the date, time and purpose of your visit with the Headteacher. The purpose of your visit must be agreed and made known to the Members of Staff you will meet. You are not an inspector and you should not behave as you think inspectors behave. If Governors have a concern arising from the visit, they should take the matter up with the Headteacher rather than comment directly to the Staff or Pupils. However, Governors generally find their visits to their School to be positive and enriching experiences. It may be helpful to the Governing Body if individual Governors make a brief report of their School Visit to the next meeting of the Governing Body. You should work to establish a relationship with Staff which both offers support and constructive criticism when this is appropriate. The relationship is unlikely to be productive if Staff do not regard you as being worthy of their trust and confidence.
It is important to remember the two following points: No Governor can make decisions, speak or act on their own for the whole Governing Body unless they are given permission by the whole Governing Body; All Governors accept equal responsibility for the actions and decisions of the Governing Body. Quite often the whole Governing Body may devolve decision-making to one of its Committees i.e. the Finance Committee, Health and Safety Committee etc. However, even when such decision making is devolved, decisions made by Committees must be reported back for ratification by the full Governing Body, though it is normal for Committee decisions to receive the full backing of the whole Governing Body. However, there may be occasions where the Headteacher will need to make a rapid decision on an issue which would normally be made by the full Governing Body or its Committees. When this happens, the Headteacher will contact the Chair who can call an emergency meeting of the full Governing Body within 3 days. However, if it is not possible to call a meeting, the Chair can act on behalf of the whole Governing Body in the decision making process on any issue that can be delegated to a Committee, the Headteacher or another Governor. (S)he should report back to the Governing Body at the first opportunity. It is perfectly natural for Governors to disagree sometimes over an issue, but once a decision has been reached all Governors must support it even if they were and, perhaps still are, opposed to it. At no time should individual Governors distance themselves from a decision made by the whole Governing Body. Corporate Responsibility 13
14 Legal Liability and Behaviour Governing Bodies are corporate bodies and so although the whole Governing Body is liable for what is does, the law makes it clear that individual Governors will not have any personal liability for anything which they have done in good faith. In other words, you should act in good faith and exercise reasonable care and common sense and act within your powers in your capacity as a School Governor. If you are a Member of a professional body, such as accountancy, there may be liabilities which arise as a result of your being considered to have been acting in a professional capacity whilst also acting as a Governor. If this might apply to you, it would be wise to ask your professional body how best to protect your professional interest. A Governor cannot be paid for being a Governor although Schools may pay expenses, in addition to travel and subsistence. The funds for payment of expenses etc, come from the School’s delegated budget, and must be shown in the Annual Report to Parents. There is an expectation that at Governing Body Meetings, Governors will conduct themselves in an appropriate way. Regularly interrupting others, bringing a personal agenda to the meetings, making personal comments about other Governors, pupils, Members of Staff etc are all examples of unacceptable behaviour. However, it is important that differences of opinion be aired openly so that all Governors feel their views are heard even if they are not adopted. Most Governors’ Meetings are conducted quite informally, so if the Chair feels that a meeting is becoming a little unruly or a conflict situation is developing (s)he may decide to adopt a formal approach to running the meeting. However, inappropriate behaviour/actions, and particularly any which contravene one or more of the Principles of Public Life could lead to a Governor being removed from office.
15 Public Accountability ‘The Headteacher and professional staff are accountable to the Governing Body for the School’s performance. The Governing Body must be prepared to explain its decisions and actions to anyone who has a legitimate interest. This may include Staff, Pupils, Parents and the Press; as well as the LA, the School’s Foundation or the National Assembly.’
Governing Body Minutes are in the public domain. This means they can be seen by the public unless the Governing Body decides that sections of the Minutes remain confidential. Consequently, Governing Body decisions will be available to the public. However, confidentiality will be breached if a Governor were to describe the discussions that took place in the build-up to a decision being made. And certainly, no Governor should ever intimate to Members of the public that they are opposed to a decision made by the whole Governing Body. CONSEQUENTLY, ANY ISSUES DEEMED TO BE CONFIDENTIAL BY THE GOVERNING BODY AND ANY DISCUSSIONS AT A GOVERNING BODY MEETING SHOULD NOT BE DISCUSSED WITH MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC. In fact, all Governors should conduct their business according to The Seven Principles of Public Life and the Principles of Conduct for Governors, which can be found in the Governors’ Handbook, Appendix 5 and 6. Governors should be aware that there should be no contradiction between openness and confidentiality. It would be appropriate to explain why the Governing Body came to a decision, but it would be inappropriate to say who was against the decision, who was in favour of it or how frank (or possibly heated) discussions were. It is important to make clear, that “Governors do not incur any personal liability in respect of anything done in good faith in exercising their power to spend a School’s budget share, or delegating that power to the Headteacher’’. Confidentiality 16
If at a Governing Body Meeting, an issue is discussed and the outcome would be of personal gain or benefit to a particular Governor, the Governor concerned should ‘declare an interest’, withdraw from the Meeting and take no part in the decision-making process. Examples would include a pecuniary interest, a relative or close friend being interviewed for a post etc. The Clerk would record the declaration of interest in the Minutes. At the beginning of each Governing Body Meeting, the Chairman or the Clerk will ask the Governors to declare any interests in the items that were for discussion during the Meeting. Governors employed at the School are not held to have a pecuniary interest unless they have a greater interest than other Members of Staff. They can take part in Staff selection unless they have a personal connection with an applicant or if a decision could lead to a vacancy which they could apply for. The School will keep a register of Business Interest of each Governor which will need to be updated when necessary. All new Governors are required to complete this form. Therefore, if there are changes in your circumstances, it is your responsibility to amend these changes on the School’s Register. If you require a new copy, please contact the Governor Support Section. Declaration and Register of Business Interests 17
If you are a Community Governor or appointed Parent Governor, the Governing Body can pass a resolution to remove you from Office. However, you cannot be removed by your colleague Governors if they do not like you; or because you’re not good enough. Elected Parent Governors, Teachers and Staff Governors cannot be removed. You can, however, be disqualified from serving as a Governor but the reasons for the disqualification are set out in law. Reasons for disqualification include: You are under 18 years old at the time of your appointment; You fail to attend meetings of the full Governing Body on three consecutive occasions without presenting an apology; You were elected as the Teacher/Staff Governor representative and you leave employment at the School; You are bankrupt or are declared bankrupt during your term as a Governor; You have or are sentenced to a term of not less than three months in prison without the option of a fine; You are liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983; You will be disqualified if you refuse a request by the Governing Body for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service). The Governing Body by resolution can suspend a Governor for all or any Governing Body Meeting or Committee for a fixed term of up to 6 months. Reasons for Suspension include: If the Governor is paid to work at the School and is the subject of disciplinary proceedings relating to his/her employment; If the Governor is the subject of proceedings of any court or tribunal, the outcome of which may be that he/she is disqualified from continuing to hold office as a Governor; If the Governor has acted in a way that is not consistent with the ethos or religious character of the school and has brought or is likely to bring the School, or Governing Body or his/her office into disrepute; If the Governor is in breach of his/her duty of confidentiality to the School or to any Member of Staff or Pupil at the School. Disqualification and Suspension 18
Effective monitoring and evaluation provides constructive and supportive challenge to the Headteacher and the School leadership/management team and also helps Governors fulfil their role of accountability to all School stakeholders for what the School does. Monitoring Monitoring – Checking that what we are doing is what we say we are doing; Evaluation Evaluation – Measuring the effect of what we are doing on Pupils, Staff and, where appropriate, other stakeholders such as the community. Monitoring and evaluation are simply checking the impact of Strategic Planning. Areas usually considered to be the key issues for monitoring and evaluation are the: School Development Plan; School performance in public examinations and end of Key Stage assessments; Finance; Pupil Wellbeing and Health & Safety; Other ‘obvious’ areas e.g. attendance, links with the community. To monitor and evaluate Schools effectively, information should be supplied to Governors through the: Headteacher’s Report to Governors; Governing Body Committee reports; Data on examination results, attendance etc; Visits to the School; Information from the local community. Monitoring and Evaluation 19
It is important to bear in mind the manner in which monitoring and evaluation should be conducted. Sympathetically, and in a supportive manner Sympathetically, and in a supportive manner – Governors are often referred to as ‘critical friends’. It is important to remember the word friend. Of course, point out concerns/criticisms, but do so in a supportive, not adversarial way. Monitor and evaluate ‘with a pat on the back-not a knife in the back’; Evidence Evidence – Whenever possible, Governors should base all judgements, suggestions etc. on evidence, NOT on rumour, hearsay or half-known facts. Similarly, before coming to any conclusions or making any decisions, Governors should get as full a picture as possible of what they are discussing. Decisions based on hearsay, rumour and limited evidence are likely to be at best valueless, at worst potentially dangerous; Set in the context of the Whole School Set in the context of the Whole School – If Governors are monitoring and evaluating a particular issue, it is possible to become so focussed on it that they do not see how it might have adverse effects on other areas within the School e.g. if they are concentrating on a new reading scheme and the financial support it needs to succeed, they might find themselves starving other areas of much needed finance. Governors should always ask themselves ‘Is the whole suffering for the particular?’; Set in the context of the community Set in the context of the community – This consideration by no means applies to everything a School does, but can be very relevant when considering such issues as changing the starting and finishing times of the School day, use of the School, premises for community activities; Ensure you understand Ensure you understand – This particular point has already been mentioned, but is very well worth emphasising. It is essential that Governors fully understand the issues they are discussing, so ask if you are uncertain – don’t be embarrassed. Monitoring and Evaluation continued 20
Important questions to ask at the beginning of the Monitoring and Evaluation process: Why are we doing this? How much will it cost? If we are diverting funds from another area, what will the effect be? What is the timescale? Who is responsible for leading this initiative and do they have a deputy? Have any other Schools tried this initiative and, if so, have we collaborated with them for help and advice? Important questions to ask during the Monitoring and Evaluation process: Are things going as we originally planned? Do we need to make any adjustments? Are we on time? Are we within our budget? Are there any serendipity effects? Important questions we might ask at the end of the process: Have we succeeded totally in what we set out to do? If not, how far have we been successful, and why weren’t we completely successful? What changes, if any, did we make? Did we stay in budget? If not, did any other areas have to suffer financially to ensure the success of the initiative? What now? Education is all about continually changing things for the better and as Governors you play a very important part in bringing about those changes. The knowledge you will gain from further training will help you play your part in ensuring our Schools always strive to provide our children with the best education possible. Questions to ask 21
22 How to Survive your First Governors Meeting 1.Remember, everybody was a new Governor once. 2.At your first meeting, you will need to get to know your Governor colleagues, some of whom will, like you, be new Governors. The Chairman will, no doubt, welcome you and there may be an opportunity for each Governor to say something briefly about themselves. 3.If you feel you have a contribution to make, you have just as much right as any other Governor to speak. No Governor is any more or less powerful than another – it’s just that some are more experienced than others. 4.You may be asked whether you are willing to serve on a Committee or working party to examine one particular matter about the life of the School. You need to think carefully about how comfortable you are about the focus of the particular Committee which you might be invited to join. If you are confident, however, don’t forget that throwing yourself into a committee or working party is a very good way of learning very quickly about a subject which is very new to you. 5.Do not worry if you feel you did not contribute fully at your first meeting. There will be plenty of other opportunities both to get to know your Governor colleagues and to make your contribution to meetings.
The Government of Maintained Schools (Training Requirements for Governors) (Wales) Regulations 2013 have introduced mandatory training for newly appointed or elected governors and Chairs, and training for all governors on the use and understanding of school data. With the continuing increase in the responsibilities of Governors, training is considered to be an essential element in ensuring the effective governance of each School. Leadership and management are recognised to be core elements in the development and success of a School and the role of Governors in those aspects are deemed to be of mounting importance. Discussing examination and performance data, which is very valuable in helping to chart pupil, department and school progress can be difficult for the lay person to understand. Governors who do not attend the mandatory training within the required period will face suspension and possible disqualification from the Governing Body. Data Training provides Governors with an understanding of School performance data and the knowledge to enable them to ask questions about the data to fulfil their role effectively to raise standards in School. To register for any of the Training Sessions we provide, please contact us at the Governor Support Section. Further information, support and training can also be accessed: Governors Wales – Welsh Government – Training 23
The Ceredigion School Governor Forum allows one representative from each Governing Body of Schools across the County to meet on a termly basis. The aim is to promote best practice in Governance, develop partnerships and relationships amongst Schools and to represent School Governors’ views on issues relating to School Governance and School Management. The Forum shall: Liaise with Officers of the LA on all matters concerning the objectives of The Forum and those issues affecting School Governance; Appoint Members to liaise with other organisations e.g. represent The Forum at conferences, Ceredigion School Budget Forum and the Management Committee of Governors Wales etc.; Promote and encourage Governor Training as directed by the Welsh Government and organised by the LA; Liaise with the Welsh Government on matters affecting School Governance; Communicate with all Governors and Governing Bodies in the LA on matters affecting School Governance e.g. through meetings, seminars and conferences; Network with other Governor Forums for good practice; Invite speakers from the LA and other organisations to inform the Members of issues relevant to School Governance and encourage communication on these issues and carry out any other activities consistent with the objectives. Governors’ Forum 24
If you have any further questions you’d like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you. Pauline Lucas – Senior Governor Support Officer Lowri Reynolds – Governor Support Officer Wendy Rattray – Administrative Assistant Address: Governor Support Section, Canolfan Rheidol, Rhodfa Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UE Governor Support Team 25
We would like to wish you luck at your first Governing Body Meeting and hope that this Presentation has equipped you with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil your role as Governor with confidence. Ceredigion’s Governor Support Officers act as Clerks to the Governing Bodies of Ceredigion Schools, therefore if there is anything you wish to discuss, you can do so at the Meetings. We hope that it is a role that will give you a sense of pleasure and achievement and we look forward to meeting you! Good luck! 26 Thank you