Docstoc

Be A Gov

Document Sample
Be A Gov Powered By Docstoc
					           BECOMING A
    SCHOOL GOVERNOR
Why do schools need governors?              Could you be a governor?

For some time now local people,             Please take a few minutes to read this
volunteering as school governors, have      document and see what is involved.
been making important decisions about       Being a governor is not difficult but you
the way each school is run.                 do need to be committed and
                                            interested in doing what's best for the
Schools need more enthusiastic and
                                            next generation.
committed people to step forward as
governors. It's an opportunity to have      If you care enough about the children
your voice heard and to influence           in your community to invest some of
education for the children in your area.    your time in their future, get involved
                                            as a governor.

                                            What do governors do?

                                            Every school has a governing body. It
                                            usually would include:
                                            • parents elected by other parents of
                                               children at the school;
                                            • citizens appointed by the local
                                               authority
                                            • members co-opted from the
Schools have changed. They now make            community (including the business
decisions on how to spend their                community)
budgets. In some of the larger schools,     • foundation governors appointed to
that can run into several million pounds.      voluntary schools to represent the
It’s a big responsibility for those in         church or trust (if any) which
charge. That is why new people are             provides the school
always needed.                              • school staff including the
                                               headteacher




                              Children, Families and Adults Service
Numbers vary depending on the school’s       It's not easy being a governor
type and size. Appointments are usually
                                             To be honest being a governor can be
for 4 years.
                                             hard work at times. There may
The governors are responsible for            sometimes be a lot of papers to read,
making sure the school provides a good       and meetings to attend. Governors may
quality education. They set the school       need to make difficult decisions about
aims and policies together with the          individual pupils or members of staff.
head. The head is responsible for day-
to-day management. But he or she is          So why do
chosen by the governors and works            people do it?
closely with them.
                                             There are as
The governing body:                          many answers
• is accountable for the performance         to this as
  of the school;                             there are
• plans for the school’s future              governors.
  direction;                                 Many find the
• selects the head teacher;                  work is
• makes decisions on the school’s            satisfying because it gives them the
  budget and staffing;                       chance to:
• makes sure the National Curriculum         • make a difference to how well the
  is taught;                                    school runs;
• decides how the school can                 • do something for the next
  encourage pupils’ spiritual, moral and        generation;
  cultural development; and                  • serve the local community; and
• makes sure that the school provides        • learn new skills.
  for all its pupils, including those with
                                             Working as part of a team, towards a
  additional needs.
                                             common goal, is also something that
These are not simple matters. They           most governors find very rewarding.
affect the interests of the pupils, the      Governors have to be prepared to give
morale of staff, and how parents and         and take and to be loyal to decisions
others see the school in the community.      taken by the governing body as a whole.
Professional advice will be available        So long as they act within the law,
from the head and staff.                     governors are protected from any
                                             financial liability for the decisions they
A governing body is not a supporters
                                             take.
club. Governors are responsible for how
the school is performing. Following up       The governing body usually meets at
inspection reports is an important job       least once a term. You would probably
for governors, so it's helpful to            also sit on one or two of the
identify problems and tackle them in         committees that look in detail at areas
advance.                                     such as:
•   finance;                                •   What is most important for the
•   curriculum;                                 school?
•   staffing; and                           •   Where are we now?
•   premises.                               •   Where do we need to get to?

Being a governor means more than just
taking an interest, though that is an
important part of the job. It also
means regularly putting aside some
spare time in the evenings and
weekends. The amount of time varies
widely, depending on how involved you
become and what needs doing.

Governors can learn a lot by visiting the
school and talking to staff and pupils.
School governors have a legal right to
                                            Governors need to work closely with
ask their employer for unpaid leave.
                                            others to make good decisions and make
                                            sure that their decisions are followed
Governors are people like you
                                            up.
Don't be put off from applying because
                                            It helps to be a listener. You will stand
you are not an expert. Instead, ask
                                            a much better chance of understanding
yourself:
                                            how the school ticks.
• do you get on with other people?
• are you open to new ideas and ready       Governors need to ask questions,
   to learn?                                gather views and then decide what is in
• can you work as part of a team?           the school’s best interests.
• are you prepared to commit some of
                                            Time and again new governors have
   your spare time, possibly in the
                                            been surprised at how their
   evenings, to go to meetings or read
                                            experiences can be used to help solve a
   papers?
                                            problem at their school. You do not
• do you want to put something back
                                            have to be a specialist. Think about the
   into your local community?
                                            skills you use in everyday life.
If you can answer Yes to these
questions, and you live or work in the      What help do governors get?
area, then you already have the makings
                                            Being a governor is not all about what
of a school governor.
                                            you have to offer. You will soon find
You do not need special qualifications,     that the other governors and the head
but you do need to be ready to read a       are only too keen for new recruits to
fair amount of paper, think about ideas     learn.
and ask questions like:
Liverpool City Council provides                     Pre-appointment Checks
information and advice through its
                                                    It is important that appropriate checks
School Governor Services team.
                                                    are made on anybody who will be working
                                                    in a school to prevent unsuitable people
                                                    from gaining access to children.

                                                    All prospective governors will be
                                                    checked to help ascertain whether they
                                                    are eligible to serve on the governing
                                                    body of a school, or whether they are
                                                    ineligible because either:
                                                    • they are disqualified from working
                                                      with children by Section 35 of the
                                                      Criminal Justice and Court Services
                                                      Act 2000; or
School Governor Services also organises
                                                    • they contravene one of the
a training programme which is paid for
                                                      disqualification conditions imposed in
by the school's training grant.
                                                      the school governance regulations.
There is a course aimed at new
governors as well as courses on specific
                                                    Interested?
topics and educational issues. These
courses are offered during the day and              If you think you have some of the
the evening.                                        qualities that are needed, contact
                                                    School Governor Services,
The Department for Education (DfE)
                                                    Toxteth Annexe Conference Centre,
(www.governornet.co.uk) provides
                                                    Aigburth Road,
guidance and useful publications.
                                                    Liverpool,
The National Governors’ Association                 L17 7BN
(NGA) (www.nga.org.uk) offers                       Tel: 0151-233 3939
information and advice. They also                   Fax: 0151-233 3944
represent the views of the country’s                email: dave.cadwallader@liverpool.gov.uk
governors to central government.                    or terry.brown@liverpool.gov.uk
Locally, the Liverpool Governors' Forum             for advice and information.
(www.livgovforum.org.uk) provides a
forum for discussion and mutual
assistance.




                              Produced by School Governor Services
                          Liverpool Children, Families and Adults Service
                                             July 2010