Governing Body

Every school has a governing body with a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 20 governors. The governing body of Pensby High School, or board of governors, consists of 12 governors comprising:

  • The headteacher;
  • 1 staff governor (elected by the staff at Pensby High School);
  • 2 parent governors (elected by the parents of pupils registered at Pensby High School);
  • 1 LA governor (nominated by the Local Authority and appointed by the governing body);
  • 7 co-opted governors (appointed by the governing body).

Governors play an essential and important role in raising school standards through three key functions:

1. Working with the headteacher to set the School’s strategic direction. As part of the governing body, a governor is expected to:-

Contribute to the strategic discussions at governing body meetings which determine:

  • the vision and ethos of the school;
  • clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school;
  • that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum;
  • the school’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium;
  • the school’s staffing structure and key staffing policies;
  • principles to be used by school leaders to set other school policies.

2. Hold school leaders to account for the performance of our pupils including:-

  • agreeing the outcomes from the schools’ self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the school development plan;
  • considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance;
  • asking challenging questions of school leaders;
  • ensuring senior leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits;
  • ensuring senior leaders have developed the required policies and procedures and the school is operating effectively according to those policies;
  • acting as a link governor in a specific area or on a specific issue, making enquiries of the relevant staff, and reporting to the governing body on the progress on school priorities and
  • listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders, pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community, including local employers.

3. Ensure the school’s finances are well spent including:-

Ensuring the school staff have the resources and support required to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.

Essentially, governors oversee the work of the school and make sure it provides a good quality education for its pupils. Governors work in partnership with the headteacher and staff.

When necessary governors are required to serve on panels of governors to:

  • appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders;
  • appraise the headteacher;
  • set the headteacher’s pay and agree the pay recommendations for other staff;
  • hear the second stage of staff grievances and disciplinary matters;
  • review pupil exclusions.

The role of governor is largely a thinking and questioning role, not a doing role.

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 experience;
  • spend much time with the pupils of the school;
  • fundraise – this is the role of FOPS – the governing body should consider income streams and the potential for income generation, but not carry out fundraising tasks;
  • undertake classroom observations to make judgments 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;
  • do the job of school staff – if there is not enough capacity within the paid staff team to carry out the necessary tasks, the governing body need to consider and rectify this.

As governors become more experienced there are other roles they may volunteer for, which would increase their degree of involvement and level of responsibility (e.g. as chair of a committee).

A key consideration in the appointment and election of all new governors is the skills and experience the governing body needs to be effective.

A strong understanding of the core functions is essential and underpins all aspects of governance. Some governors may have qualifications/professional skills which are needed within the governing body, but not in a professional capacity. Governors do not have to be educational experts. They are there to provide an independent view. What governors do need is:

  • enthusiasm;
  • energy;
  • time;
  • good communication/interpersonal skills;
  • a willingness to be open to new ideas and attend basic training.

Being a governor involves being committed and giving significant amounts of time and energy. Careful consideration should be given to what the role entails when agreeing to serve on the governing body. In order to perform the role well, a governor is expected to:

  • get to know the school, including by visiting the school occasionally during school hours (by prior arrangement with the headteacher) and gain a good understanding of the schools’ strengths and weaknesses;
  • attend induction training, regular relevant training, development events and accessing governor support information via our recognised providers;
  • 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 in our schools; and
  • behave in a professional manner, as set down in the governing body’s code of conduct, including acting in strict confidence.

The governing body works within three main committees responsible for different areas. These are Finance and Staffing, Curriculum and Pupil Personal Development. The governing body can also appoint Associate Members to serve on one or more governing body committees and attend full governing body meetings. The definition of Associate Member is wide and pupils, school staff and people who are needed to contribute specifically on issues related to a specific area (for instance finance, building, health and safety) can be appointed. Note: Associate Members are not governors.

Although the term of office is four years governors can resign within that period should they so wish. However because it can take time to understand and develop the skills needed to be a governor many governors carry on for longer than that. Some of our governors have been governors for in excess of 10 years.

The three committees of the governing body and full governing body meet once a term. Committee meetings are held early in the evening. However other meetings may take place during the school day.