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									The Link Centre and Specialist Behaviour Service
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Support for Governors                          Page 3

Training for governors                         Page 4

Who are your fellow governors?                 Page 4

Relationships                                  Page 5

Governors and Ofsted                           Page 7

Meetings of the Governing Body                 Page 8

Committees of the Governing Body               Page 8

Governors with designated roles                Page 9

Code of Conduct                                Page 10

The Governing Body and the School Budget       Page 10

Policies                                       Page11

Development planning                           Page 13

The Curriculum                                 Page 13

Special Educational Needs                      Page 13

Visiting the school                            Page 14

The Governing Body and Staffing                Page 14

Complaints                                     Page 15

Insurance for governing bodies                 Page 15

Some Questions for Governors to Ask            Page 16

Suggestions for further reference              Page 18


Welcome to your new role as a school Governor.
Thank you for choosing to become part of The Link Special School and Specialist Behaviour Service.

Please find a letter from your Executive Head teacher and Chair of Governors within your induction


Although being a school governor may at first seem a heavy responsibility, you need to remember that
an individual governor has no responsibility or power. The governing body is a corporate body of which
you are a part. Provided that you always take joint decision with the rest of the governing body in
good faith and in line with all the advice available, you will not be personally liable for those decisions.
Regulations and guidance about the conduct of your governing body business are summarised in A
Guide to the Law for School Governors (available on CD within your induction pack).

Every year billions of pounds are invested in the education of our children. You have become one of
the body of volunteers, numbering some 350,000 in England, responsible for making good use of this
To help you undertake your new duties and become familiar with the school, you will receive a great
deal of initial information. It is important that you do not feel swamped by all this material but that
you familiarise yourself with it as your term of office proceeds. Your Clerk should be able to furnish
you with all you need. The information should include at least:

               a copy of the school’s Governors’ Term of Reference

               a copy of the relevant edition of the DCSF publication: A Guide to the Law for

                School Governors

               the school’s current prospectus

               a list of members of the governing body

Further information, which would help you to gain an overview of the school, would include:

               minutes of the most recent meetings of the governing body

               the governing body’s agreed procedures or standing orders

               a list of committees and working parties of the governing body, their membership and

                terms of reference

               a calendar of governing body and committee meetings

               the school’s current Development/Improvement Plan

               the most recent OFSTED inspection report and any consequent action plan

               access to the statutory and non-statutory policies adopted by the governing body

               a copy of the most recent funding/budget papers

Details of free training available to Governors can be obtained from your Clerk, as well as listed in
the Governors termly newsletter or straight from the LA.
A good selection of courses and briefings is on offer, including New Governor Induction courses, and
all new governors are strongly advised to take part. Tailor-made courses for one or more governing
bodies and whole governing body training, in areas such as Self-Evaluation of Governing Body, Planning
for Ofsted, school visits etc, can be extremely helpful in building an effective team. These can be set
up via your Clerk and should you wish specific bespoke training, please contact your Clerk with the

The DCSF School Governors’ website is also a valuable source of further
information, including a regular newsletter and discussion forum. The DCSF website is


Parent Governors
They are elected by all other parents at the school and may serve for four years, even if their child
leaves the school during the period. If insufficient parents stand for election, governing bodies may
appoint a parent of a child at the school, the parent of a former pupil or if all else fails, the parent of
any child of or under school age. Parent governors are representative of the parent body but the
views they express at meetings are their own – they need not canvas parental opinion on every issue, or
report back to parents on decisions taken: that is the responsibility of the whole of the governing
body. They should, like all governors, make themselves known to and available to parents and listen to
their views and concerns. All governors are equal, and parents should not be excluded from any office
or committee.

Staff Governors
Headteachers have an automatic right to a place on the governing body. Many choose to be governors,
others prefer to regard themselves as professional advisers to the governing body, attending all full
governing body meetings and providing written termly reports. A staff governor place must be
reserved for the Headteacher even if s/he does not wish to take it up.

At least one staff governor place should be available for an elected teacher, and if there are three or
more staff governor places, one must be available for an elected support staff governor.

Staff governors may not chair the governing body or committees, but otherwise they should take a full
part in the work of the governing body. They are only excluded from discussions of the salary and
conditions of employment of other members of staff. Staff may not serve as LEA or Community
governors in their own school and may not stand for election as a parent governor if they work more
than 500 hours per year in school.

LA Governors

Bath and North East Somerset Council may appoint any suitable person to the governing body. If the
Council is unable to fill the vacancy the school may propose a suitable candidate from the parent body
or local community.

Community Governors
The governing body appoints community Governors to represent the community served by the school.
They can be from a business or professional background, or be members of the local parish or district
council. Other sources of community governors could be early year’s providers, staff or governors
from the wider family of schools, local police or religious leaders or parents of former pupils. The
definitions are very wide: the only requirement is that they should be committed to good governance
and the success of the school.

Foundation Governors
These are appointed by the relevant religious, charitable or educational trust to ensure the character
of the school is preserved.


The governing body is bound by statutory responsibilities, overseen by the DCSF, and is accountable to
the public and to the parents for the way in which the school is directed and managed. The staff of
the school is accountable to the governing body for the delivery of the curriculum, use of resources
and for the quality and effectiveness of the teaching and learning which takes place.

Relationship with parents
Governors are themselves responsible for drawing up the Annual Report. Law dictates much of its
content, but governors should regard it and the Annual Parents’ Meeting as opportunities to discuss
and plan for the future. The content of the report is set out in the Guide to the Law and DCSF
Guidance. Governors will not have to hold a meeting if they have held a post-OFSTED or other
consultative meeting for parents during the year, or if the parents of fewer than fifteen children
respond to an invitation to an annual meeting. A meeting of over 20% of parents can vote not to have a
meeting the following year! The Annual Report remains a requirement and governors should seek every
opportunity to make themselves known to parents and open up avenues of communication.

Schools must have Home-School Agreements setting out the responsibilities of the school, parents and
pupils, to each other. Governors have a key role in drafting and reviewing these agreements annually
and this process, undertaken with staff, parents, older-children and governors can be very helpful in
strengthening relationships.
See DCSF publication: Home-School Agreement – Guidance for Schools

The governing body are also responsible for the content and publication of the annual School

Governing bodies must ensure that they have in place a robust Complaints Procedure in order to
address any concerns raised by parents (or other stakeholders). This became a legal requirement in
September 2003.

Relationships with the Headteacher
To ensure effective communication, it is essential to have a good relationship with the Headteacher. A
good Headteacher will provide governors with adequate information in an accessible form to enable
them to take part in decision making. The Headteacher will help with the induction of new governors
and encourage the training and development of the governing body. Mutual trust is essential – the
Headteacher must share problems with the governors and they must always respect confidentiality
and stand by the decisions of the governing body. The governors act as ‘critical friends’ to the school,
asking searching questions in private meetings but always loyal to the school, the Headteacher and
each other in public.
See DCSF publication: Roles of Governing Bodies and Headteachers

Relationship with the local authority

 Guidelines for LA-School relations are set out in the Code of Practice on LA-School Relations -
 The LA:
      has oversight of the school’s standards and effectiveness:
      has power to intervene if a school is seen to be getting into difficulty:
      determines arrangements for the auditing of the school’s accounts;
      consults with the school about target setting;
         can expect the School Development Plan (SDP) to relate to its own Children’s Plan
      has a duty to give appropriate training to governors

Relationship with the local community
Schools are important parts of the local community and offer it many facilities, ranging from the
provision of education for the children to a venue for adult learning and activity. The school’s
reputation is influenced by its standing with the community and governors should seek opportunities
positively to raise the schools profile and celebrate its successes.

Relationship with the staff
This is mainly implemented through the School Development Plan, which encapsulates the governing
body’s vision for the school and to which the staff contribute. The prime vehicle for the
accountability is the Headteacher’s report, which should include information required by the governing
body. The governing body must have a Performance Management Policy relating to the assessment
and effectiveness of staff. (See Section on The Governing Body and the Staff.)
Members of staff who are not governors may be invited to attend governors meetings to report on
specific issues. They may also be co-opted onto committees and working parties where appropriate.
On a less formal level, governors should seek to promote good relationships with the staff through
school visits and by helping with school activities and attending at school functions.


From September 2009, a new Framework for Inspection was introduced. Copies should be available in
every school, together with a Handbook for Inspection, which details the schedule used by all
inspectors. This includes a detailed set of criteria to allow governing bodies to evaluate their own
procedures and performance.

Inspectors have access to a considerable amount of performance data and documentation about the
school before they start their inspection, plus a very detailed document prepared by the Headteacher
and governors in which the school evaluates its own effectiveness in many areas. OFSTED’s approach
emphasises working with schools to identify areas for improvement and focuses on inclusivity and how
well the needs of individuals are met.

The quality of leadership supported by efficient management and governance are central to the
effectiveness of the school. The new inspection process focuses on the extent to which the
leadership of the school creates an effective and improving school where pupils are keen and able to

The governing body’s main responsibilities are:

        to provide a strategic direction for the work and improvement of the school

        to support, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the school

        to hold the school to account for the standards achieved and the quality of education

Governors will meet with OFSTED inspectors, individually and in groups, and will be expected to
demonstrate an understanding of their role and how they fulfil it. From these meetings and using
evidence from documents produced by the school and minutes of meetings, inspectors must report on
the extent to which the governing body:

        helps to shape the vision and direction of the school

        ensures that the school fulfils its statutory duties, including promoting inclusive policies in


        to Special Educational Needs, race equality, disability and sex

        has a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school

        challenges and supports the senior management team

After inspection, the governors receive feedback from the inspectors. They should then work closely
with the Headteacher and staff to draw up an Action Plan to address any issues raised by the OFSTED
report. Governors also have a role in interpreting the report to parents and to the local community and

In the event of an inspection relevant training can be provided.
A good website to refer to is

The business of the governing body is carried out by formal meetings of which there must be at least
three per school year. (Any three governors may request an extra meeting). The clerk should send
out relevant papers at least seven days before the date of the meeting. These should include the
agenda for the meeting and, if appropriate, the Headteacher’s report. Depending on the working
practices of the school, they might also contain

        minutes of any working groups or committees

        reports from other sources which are to be discussed

        briefing notes on any decisions made by the government or the local education committee

         since the last governors’ meeting

        training details and notice of future events

        policies that need to be reviewed

The minutes of the previous meeting should have been circulated as soon as possible thereafter.
It is very important to read these papers thoroughly before the meeting. You can then make a note of
any queries or points you want to raise. All papers of the governing body must be available at the
school for any member of the public to read, with the exception of items which the governing body has
agreed are confidential.

Every governor needs to take a full part in meetings if the governing body is to achieve its
objective of acting as an effective team to encourage and support the school.

The agenda should detail the matters to be discussed and the items for action. Individual governors
can propose items to be included on the agenda and should contact the Clerk or the Chair of governors
for advice. Attendance at meetings is of paramount importance as decisions can only be taken if the
required quorum is present. This is established by the first item on the agenda – apologies for
absence. (A governor may be removed from office if absent from meetings over a period of six
months without the agreement of the governing body, starting from the first absence.)

Committees of the Governing Body
To assist in managing the detail of business, our governing body delegates some areas of work to
committees with powers to decide matters on their behalf. These Committees report back to the full
governing body meetings.

When considering establishing committees it should be borne in mind that:

   too many committees can be counterproductive, burdening individuals who serve on more than one;

   too few may mean that committee briefs are too wide and business become unwieldy.

We here at The Link Special School and Specialist Behaviour Service have ;
-Personnel, Premises and Finance (PPF)
-Curriculum, Pupil and Community (CPC)
-Performance Programming committees (PP)

You will be asked to sit on one committee. It is important that you understand the role of each
committee. The terms of reference, membership and methods of working must be decided by the
governing body with a quorum of 3 of its membership present and should be reviewed annually. A

committee, with a minimum of three governors, may take decisions on behalf of the governing body
only if its terms of reference stipulate that it has delegated powers to do so. It should be noted that
some decisions cannot be delegated to committees or individuals. (See Guide to the Law.)

Committees must report to the governing body, which should receive committee minutes, consider
recommendations and endorse decisions. Decision made by the governing body, or by committees with
delegated powers, are binding on all governors. Any governor who has to declare an interest in any
matter being discussed by the governing body or by a committee must leave the meeting.
Confidentiality about individual participating in committee or governing body business should be

Working Parties

Some matters can be more appropriately dealt with by working parties. Working parties cannot be
given delegated powers to make decisions but can do useful preparatory work for the governing body
by being given a specific task, e.g. preparing a policy, and then reporting to it. Once their job is done
they can disband and not clutter up the system. Working parties do not require a quorum and their
membership can be flexible; and, whereas a committee must be chaired by a governor, a working party
may be chaired by a member of staff. We at The Link Special School and Specialist Behaviour Service
also have two working parties;
-Positive Behaviour (PB)
- Keeping Safe/Child Protection (KS/CP)


There are many opportunities within every governing body for individual governors to make use of their
existing skills and experience and develop particular areas of expertise through training and
committee work. It is not good practice for the Chair to take on other significant responsibilities or to
chair committees.

Chair and Vice-Chair
The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected for a period of one to four years by the governors at the first
meeting in the autumn term. Anyone employed at the school cannot be elected Chair or Vice-Chair.
Governing bodies must determine the procedures for nomination, either at the meeting or in advance
of it. Elections must be by secret ballot. Governors should determine the term of office (one to four
years) of the Chair and Vice-Chair. The Chair leads the governing body and should ensure that it fulfils
all its statutory responsibilities. A good Chair will build an effective team, ensuring that all governors
participate fully in meetings and committees and developing their knowledge, confidence and skills. The
Chair needs to be well informed about local and national educational issues and share this information
with the governing body. He or she needs to have a close, supportive, but not exclusive relationship
with the Headteacher.

The Vice-Chair acts as Chair when the Chair is unavailable and assumes the role of Chair if the current
Chair resigns between meetings. Chairs and Vice-Chairs should decide between themselves how the
workload is divided between them according to individual areas of interest and expertise.

SEN Governor
Many governing bodies nominate a Special Educational Needs governor to liaise with the school's SEN
co-ordinator (SENCO) and ensure that the governing body is aware of and fulfils its responsibilities

for special education as described in the DCSF publication: SEN Code of Practice. The Link School
and Specialist Behaviour Service SEN Governor should liaise with the SEN Manager.

Other Designated Governors
The Link Special School and Specialist Behaviour Service have a few other designated Governors,
including; Equalities Governor and Work Life Balance Governor.

Committee Chairs
Each committee of the governing body should elect its own Chair, whose responsibility it is to compile
and circulate agendas for meetings, ensure members have sufficient information to discuss issues and
reach decisions. The Chair leads the discussions and ensures that the decisions of the committee are
conveyed back to the full governing body.

The Role of the Clerk
An efficient clerk is an essential component of a governing body. Every governing body must appoint a
clerk. Committees also need to identify a clerk - this may be done by a governor but never by the
Headteacher. It is good practice, however, to have an independent clerk if possible.

Clerks organise and minute meetings, maintain records of membership, attendance and appointments
and should also advise the governors on constitutional issues, statutory duties and powers. Bath and
North East Somerset LEA offers comprehensive training and support to all clerks.


The House of Commons Education and Employment Committee's Report on The Role of School
Governors included among its recommendations "that governing bodies adopt a code of practice
outlining the purpose of the governing body which describes the appropriate relationship between
individual governors, the whole governing body and the school, etc."

It is required that every school Governor have an enhanced CRB check. If you do not have one valid
within the last three years then please bring the information needed to apply for one. If you are
unsure of what information is needed from you please contact your Clerk.


SCHOOLS receive their annual budget allocation from the local authority, which obtains much of its
funding from central government, with the remainder coming from the local community through the
council tax.

The School’s budget funds all the activities of the school. It may all be delegated to schools who can
then use it to fund their day-to-day running costs and to buy in support services from the Local
Authority or elsewhere. Some of the School’s funds are retained centrally by the LA. This will be used
to provide services for schools, for example, money to fund SEN Statements, which is then available
to schools according to their need. Decisions about what proportion of the School’s funds could be
retained centrally to fund specific services should be made taking into account local circumstances and
the views of schools as expressed through Schools' Forums.

School’s Forums

From January 2003, LA’s were required to establish a Schools' Forum in their respective Authorities.
Headteachers and governors must make up 80% of its membership. The remaining 20% can be drawn
from the early years partnerships, diocesan representatives, elected councillors, union
representatives. A Forum's role is advisory to the elected councillors, not decision making. See DCSF
Publication: Schools Forums (England) Regulations 2002.


By the end of January each year, governors should have a fair indication of the likely level of school
funding, based on the authority's main budget and the plans of the Schools Forum for the following
financial year, which commences in April. The final school allocation must await the council's budget
process. Under the system of delegated funding of schools, every LA has its own local funding formula,
which it is free to determine within the limits of government regulations. The final school allocation
must be published by 1 March.

The governing body of every school with a delegated budget has powers to distribute its own budget
within the limit of its allocation for the financial year. The final budget should be endorsed by the full
governing body before submission to the LA. However, the governing body may delegate this function
to a committee, which can also handle the details. The Headteacher is involved very closely in the
process. The committee should be guided by the school's priorities as set out in the school's
Development Plan. Regular monitoring is essential to avoid overspending and to investigate apparent
underspending. A report on finance is one of the items that must appear in the Annual Report to
Parents, and governing bodies must be sure that proper Audit arrangements are in place. DCSF
guidance on Benchmarking Budgets, i.e. comparing your school's expenditure patterns with those of
similar schools, can be a useful way of reviewing how effectively the school's budget is being managed.
All schools must now meet FMSIS (Financial Management Systems in Schools) standards on a three
yearly basis.

See OFSTED publication - Keeping your Balance
DCSF publication : Benchmarking Schools Budgets - Sharing Good Practice
Fmsis Doc G4 – Financial Management Standards in Schools assessment Tool 2008/09


Policies are the basic tools of governing body work. In essence they set out, in a clear and
understandable form, the framework within which the school should be run. Policies will guide the
Headteacher in making decision relating to the everyday management of the school. They will also help
the governing body when it comes to making strategic decisions.

The policies which governing bodies are required by law to produce and those recommended are
detailed in A Guide to the Law for School Governors. The Office for Standards in Education’s
(OFSTED) Handbook for the Inspection of Schools lists all the written information that schools
have to provide on inspection which governing bodies should consider when deciding on what
policies to produce.

Schools should have a binder with all their policies in place and a system for monitoring and reviewing
them. Governors are not expected to memorise all the policies and regulations under which they
operate, but they should know how to access this information when needed and consult the relevant
policies before taking action. Policies should be implemented throughout the whole school community.
They will help to guard against charges of unfairness and will promote confidence within the staff
when dealing with situations.
Policies should:

              be bare statements of principle;

              incorporate codes of practice;

              result in methods of working.

Policies should relate to:

              teaching and learning;

              the organisation and management of the school;

              issues to do with behaviour;

              issues of equal opportunity;

              special educational needs;

              delegation of resources;

              staff pay and conditions, and performance management;

              buildings and fabric maintenance.

Policies should be:

              consistent with the aims and ethos of the school;

              consistent with Human Rights legislation, for detail see Guide to the Law;

              consistent with obligations of the governing body to promote racial equality and


              consistent with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act

              used as a management tool;

              easily understandable, well written and as brief as possible;

              applied appropriately;

              reviewed regularly;

              drawn up with adequate consultation with those who will be affected;

              formally approved and adopted by the governing body;

              regularly monitored and evaluated;

              readily available to everyone;

              kept in a dedicated volume.


The School's Development Plan, sometimes known as the School Improvement Plan, identifies priorities
for the school over a 3 year period. It should specify targets, success criteria and the responsible
people, the timescale and resources needed in the whole range of curriculum and pastoral
responsibilities of the school. It is a working document, constantly under review and able to respond to
changing circumstances and new demands.

The Headteacher, staff and governors should work together on the preparation, monitoring and review
of the Plan. The Headteacher's termly report to the governors should focus on the progress of the
Development Plan. This process is the key to the governors' main responsibility, that of raising
standards for children.

Monitoring the progress of the plan against the targets it sets is a key element of governing body
work. It should be the driving force for governing body agendas. Most governing bodies do this
through a system of committees, which look at particular elements in a planned way. The task of the
committees is to ask questions of the Headteacher and require evidence for assertions made. This is
the process frequently referred as being a "critical friend".

There are many additional ways by which the success of the school may be monitored such as governor
visits, parental views, LA comparative information and teacher comments.

Governors should not neglect their own development. Governance is a complex issue and even long
serving governors need to be updated from time to time. The governing body should ensure that there
is a section in the Plan on their own development and training needs.

It is important to note that Ofsted will use the SDP as a basis for the school inspection. Regular
monitoring and evaluation of its implementation should form part of the planned work of the governing
body. Evidence of this process should be recorded in the minutes.


The Secretary of State, LAs, Governing bodies and Headteachers of maintained schools in England and
Wales have a shared duty to ensure that the curriculum for each school is balanced and broadly based
in promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of the pupils in that school.
Every governing body must ensure that the school provides teaching for all pupils of compulsory age in
accordance with the law, consisting of the National Curriculum and other statutory requirements
making up the basic curriculum.

Responsibilities of Governing Bodies

The Government has a policy of developing a more inclusive education system. All LAs must state their
policy on inclusive education within their Development Plans. The presumption is that, where parents
(and pupils) want it and suitable support can be provided, children with special educational needs should
be educated in ordinary (or mainstream) primary and secondary schools.
LAs and schools have a duty to use their best endeavours to identify and meet special educational
needs. The LA must have a procedure for assessing and for statementing children with the most
serious needs. This involves the parents, and experts from education, medicine and social work as

Every school governing body has to have a Special Educational Needs Policy and to include in the
Annual Report to Parents a note on its implementation. All schools must have regard to the Code of
Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Needs (DCSF, 1994). Every school should
have a member of staff as a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and also a governor
with a special brief to monitor SEN provision.

Governing Bodies are responsible for ensuring that:

              the school supports the Code of Practice;
              there are procedures to support all pupils with special educational needs, including
               those with statements, so that they have equal opportunity to access the curriculum;
              schools provide, in Annual Reports, a description of the admission arrangements for
               pupils with disabilities (this does not apply to special schools);
              pupils with special needs join in activities with other people (subject to conditions);
              facilities are provided to assist to the school by pupils with disabilities;
              appropriate pastoral support is provided to a statemented child;
              relevant policies are in place to protect the children (ie bullying);
              the progress of the child is evaluated.

To find out if their responsibilities are being discharged, governors should ask relevant questions of
the Headteacher, SENCO and others; seek evidence that the Code of Practice is being supported,
facilities are being provided and that the children’s special needs are being met.


All governors should visit the school during the working day and as a new governor, you should arrange
an early introductory visit with the Headteacher. The Governor's role is that of a critical friend, not
an inspector. By observing pupils and mixing with teaching and support staff, a Governor can begin to
get to know the school. There is no legal right to paid time off work for Governors to perform their
duties but many employers recognise the importance of the governor role. It is important for the
school to arrange that staff governors have the opportunity to "visit" the school on behalf of the
governing body.

The focus of visits for the coming term and the appropriate governors to conduct them should be
agreed at the governors' meeting, taking into account the school's priorities as identified by the
school's Development Plan or Post-OFSTED Action Plan. All governor visits should be planned with
the Headteacher.


Governing bodies have responsibilities as employers. The level of responsibilities differs depending on
the type of school. In Aided, Foundation and Foundation Special schools, the governing body is the
employer. In Community, Community Special and Voluntary Controlled schools, the governing body
exercises employer responsibility while the LA retains ultimate legal responsibility. A Guide to the
Law for School Governors gives full details of the legal responsibilities of the governing body in
relation to the staff, including non-teaching staff. Whenever there is uncertainty, the LA, or diocese
where applicable, should be consulted.

Staffing is an area of partnership between governing bodies and Headteachers. The governing body is
responsible for determining the staffing and management structure of the school on the advice of the
Headteacher who is responsible for making sure that the staffing level is sufficient to teach the
National Curriculum. The governing body is responsible for appointing staff, although appointments
other than those of Headteacher or deputy may be delegated. It must have a clear policy for
appropriate appointment procedures.

Annual Salary Review

Payments to teaching staff are governed by the DCSF annual publication:Schoolteachers Pay and
Conditions of Employment document. All qualified classroom teachers must have an annual salary
review and all staff should be aware of the procedures by which any grievance or appeal will be heard.
The governing body must ensure that all staff receive a formal statement of their salary and how it
has been arrived at. There is no automatic pay progression for Headteachers and deputies, who are
now assimilated into the new leadership pay spine, but the governing body has to review their salaries
with effect from 1 September each year. It is the statutory duty of governing bodies to set
performance objectives for Headteachers relating to the management and leadership of the school
and pupil progress.

Performance Management

The governors are required to have in place a Performance Management Policy. This is used to
monitor the implementation of performance management within the school. The policy may need to be
reviewed as necessary.

The governing body is also required to nominate two or three governors to review the Headteacher’s
performance annually and set targets for the Headteacher for the coming year. In doing this, the
Committee must have the support of an external advisor. In case of dispute, the Chair of Governors
will be the review officer for this process, unless s/he has been involved in their annual review, in
which case another governor must be appointed as review officer. Information from the
Headteacher’s annual review will inform the decisions of the Pay Policy Committee. Anyone employed
at the school cannot take part in discussions on pay or appraisals.

It is the Headteacher’s responsibility to arrange the review of the targets and performance of all
other teachers and support staff. The governing body only has to ensure that it is done.

The governors responsible for Performance Management should receive appropriate nationally
recognised training for this crucial and demanding role.


One of the very useful functions that governors can perform, as teachers, parents and members of
the community, is to monitor dissatisfaction amongst staff, parents and local residents and report
back to the Headteacher any areas of general concern. Schools must be open, responsive and
accountable to their stakeholders. It is important to recognise the distinction between awareness of
potential problems and actively seeking out complaints - the latter is not part of the governors' role.

Complaints against the School

Dealing with individual complaints requires great tact. Governors must not attempt to resolve
difficulties themselves but must help the parent understand and access the school's Complaints
procedure. Governors must never raise individual parental complaints at governors' meetings.
Regulations state that every school should set and publish a Complaints procedure for the school.


Governing Bodies of maintained schools are corporate bodies. Individual governors will therefore not
be held personally liable for actions taken on behalf of the Governing Body provided that they act
honestly, reasonably and within their powers.

The Insurance Programme arranged by the LA extends to protect schools and school staff including
the Governing Body, in respect of claims made against them for personal injury or financial loss to a
third party. The Programme also protects against claims in respect of damage to third party property.

No insurance is available for claims arising from mal-administration or illegal action on the part of a
public authority, including Governing Bodies - for example, where a third party disputes a school’s
policy or procedures. (These actions will usually not include claims for compensation). Should the
Governing Body receive such a claim, they should seek legal advice immediately, either through the
Council’s Legal Services or independently if they wish.
Bath and North East Somerset Council will support school Governing Bodies in any action taken against
them in respect of discharging their duties as a Governing Body, provided they have undertaken those
duties in accordance with all guidance and procedures issued by the LA and the DCSF.

These questions are not meant to be exhaustive and are offered, simply to get you started. They will
themselves generate further questions. Doubtless you will have many others of your own.
Never be afraid to ask even the simplest of questions: it is one of the principal ways of
discharging your role of monitoring the school’s performance.


   What are the stated aims and ethos of the school and are they effectively implemented?

   What policies does the governing body have, where are they, how are they drawn up and reviewed?

   How focused is the governing body on the welfare and progress of pupils?

   Do policies reflect the governors’ commitment to promoting racial equality and inclusion?


   What committees does your governing body have and what are their terms of reference?

   What matters have been delegated by the governing body and to whom?

   What targets are included in the School Development Plan and how do governors contribute to the


Legal Framework:

   Who are your fellow governors and by whom have they been elected or appointed?


   Does the school offer a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum and meet National Curriculum


   What are the policies regarding religious education, worship, sex education and home-school


   Do the Headteacher’s reports provide information about school and pupil targets, test and

    examination results and school performance in a way that enables the governing body to monitor


   What is the school’s homework policy?

School Budget:

   How many pupils are on the roll and how does this affect the budget?

   What is the size of the budget, how is it apportioned internally and how is it planned to be spent?

   Who has authority to spend and up to what level, and what financial controls are in place?


   What are the governing body’s procedures for appointing staff, reviewing salaries, dealing with

    discipline and grievances and consultation?

   Is there a governing body policy about governor’s visits to the school?

   How do staff and governors get to know each other?


   How does the governing body assess the school’s performance and effectiveness?

   How are the Annual Report to Parents and the School Prospectus prepared?

   What is the school’s Home-School Agreement?

   What arrangements are there for consulting parents and dealing with complaints?

   To what extent is the school involved in the community and vice-versa?

   Is training available to the governing body as a whole to help discharge their corporate

Special Educational Needs:

   What is the governing body policy relating to SEN?

   Is there a governor specifically allocated to monitor SEN on behalf of the governing body?

   Who is the school’s SENCO?

   How many pupils are recognised as having SEN and how many are statemented?


   Is there equal access for all pupils to all areas of the curriculum?

   Is there a positive policy of inclusion of all pupils despite any problems they may have?

   What is the school’s behaviour policy and how is it monitored?

   Are instances of any exclusions regularly reported to the governing body?

   Does the school celebrate pupils’ achievements?

   How does the school cope with bullying?

   What is the school’s policy on exclusions?

Health Warning!
Please do not take this list to your first meeting with the Headteacher or governing body
meeting and expect answers to all of them. New governors who enter schools with check list and
clipboards are not universally welcome. You should be able to find the answers to many of these
questions in the written material the school provides on your appointment. Others can be asked
at governing body and committee meetings as appropriate.


There is much useful material sent to schools from the DCSF and OFSTED, copies of which may be
available in your school or can be ordered or accessed online; for example:

   DCSF Publications Centre: phone 0845 6022260 website
   A Guide to the Law for School Governors (a copy should be given to you by your Clerk to
   Governing Body procedures
   Statutory Guidance on School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations • Roles of
    Governing Bodies and Headteachers
   Governing Bodies and Effective Schools (BIS/OFSTED/DfFS) • Code of Practice LEA-School
   Performance Management - Guidance for Governors
   Setting Targets for Pupil Achievement: Guidance for Governors • 14-19 Opportunity and Excellence
   Special Educational Needs Code of Practice • School Governors and More Able Children
   Home-School Agreements - Guidance for Schools
   Governors' Annual Reports and School Prospectuses (separate versions for primary and secondary
   Benchmarking School Budgets
   Schools Forums (England) Regulations
   School Teachers Pay and Conditions of Employment
   FMSIS website;

OFSTED Publication Department phone: 0700 2637833 website:
 Handbook for Inspecting Primary and Nursery Schools • Handbook for the Inspection of
   Secondary Schools
 Inspecting Schools - a Guide for Parents
 Lessons in Teamwork (Audit Commission/OFSTED
 Keeping Your Balance (Audit Commission/OFSTED)

If there are any Policies referenced in this document you would like

to view, that are not present in your induction pack, please contact

your Clerk of Governors.

Based on ‘Welcome to Governance’ Trigger Pack Series published by National Governors’ Council
Revised for The Link Special School and Specialist Behaviour Service (Link/SBS) in April 2010.


ACE Advisory Centre for Education - an advisory service for parents
Appraisal A review of an employee's performance, especially for the purposes of staff development.
APM Annual Parents' Meeting.
AST Advance skills teacher
ATL Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
Attainment targets These establish what children of differing ability should be expected to know and
be able to do by the end of each Key Stage of the Curriculum. Each target is graded into eight levels
which pupils climb up as they learn more.
AWPU Age-Weighted Pupil Unit. The sum of money allocated to the school for each pupil according to
age. This is the basic unit of funding for the school.
Baseline assessment Assessment of pupils' attainment on entry to Year I
Basic skills Reading, writing and arithmetic.
Capital expenditure Spending on projects, improvements, and extensions to the school.
CATS Cognitive Ability Tests.
Catchment area The area from which a school takes its pupils.
CEO Chief Education Officer, sometimes known as Director of Education
Community schools Term used in the SSFA (see below) to describe former LEA-maintained schools or
Grant Maintained schools which opted to become Community schools.
Community Special schools Term used in the SSFA to describe former LEA-maintained Special
schools or Grant Maintained Special schools which opted to become Community Special schools.
Competitive tendering Obtaining quotes or tenders from alternative suppliers before awarding
Co-opted governor A governor representing community and local businesses chosen by members of a
governing body who have themselves been elected or appointed.
Connexions Service for 13-19 year old providing advice, guidance and support in planning further
education and employment.
Core curriculum English, Maths and Science - these are studied by all pupils.
COSHH Control of Substances Hazardous to Health
DDA Disability Discrimination Act.
Delegated budget Money provided under Fair Funding (see below) which governors can manage at their
discretion (see also Devolved funds, below).
Delegated powers Authority given to a committee or the Headteachers to take action on behalf of the
governing body.
Devolved funds, such as the Standards Fund, are those which have to be used for specific purposes.
DCSF Department for Education and Skills.
Differentiation The Organisation of teaching programmes and methods specifically to suit the age,
ability and aptitudes of individual children.
Disapplication A term used where Curriculum requirements may not apply to a pupil.
EAZ Education Action Zone
EBD Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.
EDP Education Development Plan which LEAs are required to prepare.
ESO Education Supervision Order which LEAs may apply for to deal with cases of poor attendance at
EWO Education Welfare Officer. A professional worker who visits pupils' homes and deals with
attendance problems and other welfare matters in co-operation with the school.
Exclusion The temporary or permanent banning of a pupil from school.
Ex officio Able to attend meetings by virtue of holding a particular office.
Fair Funding The system of funding for schools introduced in April 1999 which sets the framework for
the financial relationship between schools and their LEAS.
Form of entry The number of classes that a school admits each year.
Form 7 A DCSF form submitted by every school each January to record the number of teachers
employed, the number of children in each age group, the Organisation of classes and so on.
Foundation governor A governor appointed by the foundation body of a Voluntary school.
Foundation schools New category of schools, usually former Grant Maintained schools.
Foundation Stage Curriculum followed by children below statutory school age, in schools and
nursery/pre-school provision
GCSE General Certificate of Secondary Education.
GNVQ General Vocational Qualification.
GTC General Teaching Council.
HMI Her Majesty's Inspector.
IEP Individual Education Plan for pupils with special educational needs.
IIP Investors in People
INSET In-Service Education and Training days - courses for practising teachers. Each year 5 days
during term time are set aside for staff training. Pupils do not attend school on these days.
Instrument of Government A legal document setting out the composition of governing bodies.
ISCG Information for School and College Governors.
l(C)T Information (and Communication) Technology.
KS1-4 Key Stages - the four stages of the Curriculum: KSI for pupils aged 5-7; KS2 for 7-11; KS3 for
11-14; KS4 for 14-16.
LEA Local Education Authority.
LSC Learning and Skills Council.
Minor Authority A district council or parish council.
Mixed ability A teaching group in which children of all abilities are taught together.
NAGM National Association of Governors and Managers.
NAHT National Association of Headteachers.
NAS/UWT National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers.
National Curriculum This was established by the 1988 Education Reform Act to ensure that all pupils
receive a broad and balanced education which is relevant to their needs.
NFER National Foundation for Educational Research.
NGC National Governors' Council. An Organisation which provides a voice for governors and is based on
local associations of governing bodies.
NNEB National Nursery Examination Board.
NGFL National Grid for Learning.
Non-teaching (Support) Staff Members of the school staff employed by the governors to provide
services in a school but not to teach, such as classroom assistants, cleaners and school secretaries.
NQT Newly Qualified Teacher.
NRA National Record of Achievement. A document now required for all children leaving school,
containing a record of a pupil's achievements in and out of school.
NUT National Union of Teachers.
OFSTED Office for Standards in Education. The body which arranges, and sets, standards for, school

PAN Planned Admissions Number - formerly PAL (Planned Admissions Limit). The number of children
the LEA (or governing body of an Aided School) determines can be admitted to the school.
Partnership governor For Foundation schools and Foundation Special schools, a person nominated in
accordance with the Regulations where the Instrument of Government so requires.
Panda Performance and Assessment data from OFSTED, rating schools of comparable circumstances.
Peripatetic teacher One who teachers in a number of schools, to give specialist instruction.
PFI Private Finance Initiative.
PGCE Post-Graduate Certificate of Education. A teaching qualification which includes a period of
practical teaching experience.
PGR Parent Governor Representative elected to serve on a local authority committees.
Pi Performance Indicators.
PPI Public and Private Initiative.
PRP Performance Related Pay.
PRU Pupil Referral Unit.
PSP Pastoral Support Programme for pupils at serious risk of permanent exclusion.
PTA Parent Teacher Association - or PSA (Parent Staff Association).
PTR Pupil/Teacher Ratio. This is calculated by dividing the number of pupils in a school by the number
of full- time equivalent teachers.
QCA Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Quorum The minimum number of members at a meeting before decisions can be made.
Rgl/Ri Registered Inspector, who is authorised to lead an inspection team (colloquially, a 'Reggie').
ROA Record of Achievement.
SACRE Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education. Local statutory body which advises on
religious education and collective worship.
'SATs' Standard Assessment Tasks (title protected by copyright) used for Curriculum Assessment.
Secondment The release of staff on a temporary basis for work elsewhere.
SEN Special Educational Needs. Learning difficulties for which special educational provision has to be
made. May include children with physical disabilities or emotional and behavioural disorders.
SENCO SEN Co-ordinator. The teacher responsible for coordinating SEN provision in the school.
Setting A system of organising pupils into ability groups for particular subjects.
SHA Secondary Headteachers Association.
SIMS Schools Information and Management System. A computer package to assist schools in managing
information on pupils, staff and resources.
Special school A school for children whose special educational needs cannot be met within a
mainstream school.
Special unit A unit attached to a mainstream school to cater for children with specific special needs.
SOC School Organisation Committee. Required to be established by the LEA to consider its School
Organisation Plan (SOP) for the provision of school places in its area.
SSA Standard Spending Assessment The standard level of public spending in each local authority
determined by the government.
SSFA School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
Standard Number (SN) The legally determined number of pupils in the admission year group below
which the PAN (see above) may not be set.
Standards fund Devolved monies for school improvement projects, including staff development and
governor training, some of which may be earmarked for specific purposes.
Statementing The procedure by which a child is formally assessed under the 1996 Education Act as
having significant special educational needs.           I
Streaming Placing pupils in classes according to their ability.
Threshold Teachers may apply to be assessed to be paid above the threshold of their incremental pay.
Trust deed The deed by which a Voluntary Aided or a Voluntary Controlled school has been
TTA Teacher Training Agency.
UNISON Union of Public Employees

VA Voluntary Aided. School maintained by the LEA except for some particular aspects, such as paying
15% towards some building costs. Usually a denominational school in which the governors have
particular religious rights and also responsibilities.
Value Added When pupils are enabled to achieve above their assessed performance levels; the
additional benefits accruing from, e.g., a school's ethos or extra-curricular activities.
VC Voluntary Controlled. A denominational school wholly maintained by the LEA but with certain
residual rights regarding religious worship.
Vertical grouping Classes formed (in primary schools) with children of different age groups.
Virement The agreed transfer of money from the budget heading to which it has been allocated to
another budget heading.
Walking distance The statutory distance beyond which the LEA must provide free school transport is
two miles for children up to 8 years old and three miles for those aged 8 and over.

Based on ‘Welcome to Governance’ Trigger Pack Series published by National Governors’ Council
Revised to fit The Link Special School and Specialist Behavious Service (Link/SBS) in April 2010.


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