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					              Archdiocese of Southwark



               Handbook for Governors

    of Voluntary Aided Catholic Schools




             Commission for Schools and Colleges




    This edition of the Handbook for Governors is issued to coincide with the
 reconstitution of school governing bodies and the re-appointment of foundation
governors. It will be reviewed over the course of the 2006-7 school year and any
comments or requests for additional material are welcomed and should be sent to
           Carol Poynter at the Commission for Schools and Colleges,
                        carol.poynter@rcsouthwark.org.uk
                                                    CONTENTS

Introduction .................................................................................................................. 3
A note on the Guide to Law for School Governors ................................................... 3
Model Code of Conduct ............................................................................................... 5
Section 1 ........................................................................................................................ 7
Catholic Education in the Diocese .............................................................................. 7
  The Diocese ............................................................................................................... 7
  The Archbishop and Trustees .................................................................................... 7
  The Diocesan Education Committee and the Education Executive Committee ........ 8
  The Commission for Schools and Colleges ............................................................... 8
  The Commission and governors ................................................................................ 9
  Summary of Diocesan education policies relevant to schools and colleges .............. 9
  Planning for provision of school places: basic principles (2003) ............................ 10
  Resources on the website of the Commission for Schools and Colleges ................ 11
Section 2 ...................................................................................................................... 12
The Distinctive Nature of the Catholic School ........................................................ 12
  Evaluating the distinctive nature of the Catholic school ......................................... 12
  The common good in education ............................................................................... 13
Section 3 ...................................................................................................................... 14
Partners in the Service............................................................................................... 14
  Department for Education and Skills ....................................................................... 14
  Local authorities....................................................................................................... 14
  Staff .......................................................................................................................... 15
  The headteacher ....................................................................................................... 16
  Other staff ................................................................................................................ 16
  Parents and carers .................................................................................................... 16
  Pupils........................................................................................................................ 16
  Parishes .................................................................................................................... 17
  The wider community .............................................................................................. 17
  Other schools ........................................................................................................... 18
Section 4 ...................................................................................................................... 19
The Role and Responsibilities of Governing Bodies ............................................... 19
  The legal status of the governing body .................................................................... 19
  The powers of the governing body .......................................................................... 19
  Categories of governors ........................................................................................... 20
  Foundation governors .............................................................................................. 20
  Sponsor governors ................................................................................................... 21
  Other categories ....................................................................................................... 21
  The role of the Chair ................................................................................................ 21
  Managing meetings .................................................................................................. 22
  Chair’s action ........................................................................................................... 22
  Confidentiality ......................................................................................................... 22
  Chair’s casting vote.................................................................................................. 23
  Relationship with the headteacher ........................................................................... 23
  Parish Priests as Chairs ............................................................................................ 23
  Governors’ visits to the school ................................................................................ 23
  Attendance at meetings other than in school ........................................................... 24
  Code of conduct ....................................................................................................... 24



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                                                              1
  Training .................................................................................................................... 24
  Declarations of interest ............................................................................................ 24
  Allowances for expenses.......................................................................................... 25
  Meetings ................................................................................................................... 25
  Full governing body meetings ................................................................................. 26
  Quorum .................................................................................................................... 26
  Role of the Chair at governing body meetings ........................................................ 26
  Role of the clerk ....................................................................................................... 27
  Minutes .................................................................................................................... 27
  Committees .............................................................................................................. 28
Section 5 ...................................................................................................................... 29
Admissions and Exclusions ....................................................................................... 29
  The role of the governing body ................................................................................ 29
  Objections to admissions arrangements ................................................................... 29
  Co-ordinated Admissions Schemes ......................................................................... 30
  Appeals .................................................................................................................... 30
  Admissions Forums ................................................................................................. 30
  Diocesan Guidelines for Voluntary Aided Schools ................................................. 30
  Exclusions ................................................................................................................ 31
Section 7 ...................................................................................................................... 32
Curriculum ................................................................................................................. 32
  The role of the governors ......................................................................................... 32
  Inclusion ................................................................................................................... 32
  Religious education .................................................................................................. 33
  Sex and relationship education ................................................................................ 33
Section 8 ...................................................................................................................... 34
Staffing ........................................................................................................................ 34
  The governing body as the employer ....................................................................... 34
  Appointments ........................................................................................................... 34
  Appointment of a headteacher or deputy headteacher ............................................. 35
  Leaders for religious education ................................................................................ 36
  Support staff ............................................................................................................. 36
  Contracts .................................................................................................................. 37
  Staff discipline, capability, grievance, absence ....................................................... 37
  Developing a staffing structure ................................................................................ 37
  Job descriptions ........................................................................................................ 37
  Pay and conditions of service .................................................................................. 38
  Performance management ........................................................................................ 38
Section 9 ...................................................................................................................... 39
Control and Use of the Premises............................................................................... 39
  Ownership of the premises....................................................................................... 39
  Governors’ financial responsibilities ....................................................................... 39
  Insurance .................................................................................................................. 39
  Health and safety...................................................................................................... 39
  Lettings policy: out of hours use .............................................................................. 40
  Extended Schools ..................................................................................................... 40




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                                                             2
                                   Introduction

This booklet has been prepared to give guidance to all governors in voluntary aided
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. It will also give support on general issues to
governors of Catholic sixth form colleges and academies, whose work is subject to
other specific legal provisions.

The Archbishop recognises the commitment and hard work of all who volunteer to act
as governors and it is intended that this booklet will assist and support them in their
work. The world of education is complex and ever-changing and many governors’
main work is in other areas of life. They bring a wealth of expertise from which
Catholic schools, colleges and academies benefit.

Under English law, governors of Catholic schools have a corporate responsibility to
ensure that their schools are managed in accordance with the requirements of the
Diocesan bishop, with the Diocesan Trust Deed or the Trust Deed of the relevant
Religious Institute, and with the School’s Instrument of Government, as well as
complying with all other legal requirements. They are responsible for maintaining
and developing the distinctive nature of the Catholic school, within the Church’s
mission of education and in awareness of the contribution the Church makes to
society through this mission.

The governing body plays a key strategic role in the direction of and accountability
for the school, but is also part of a network of relationships which includes children
and young people, parents, staff, priests, religious, the Diocese, local authority, DfES
and agencies and organisations within the wider community.

It is hoped that this booklet will help all governors to meet their responsibilities,
ensuring that Catholic schools, colleges and academies in the Diocese are
communities which provide spiritual, academic and social development according to
the distinctive aims and mission of Catholic education today.

A note on the Guide to the Law for School Governors

This document is essential reading for all school governors. It is published by the
DfES and may be obtained from the DfES Publications Centre, e-mail
dfes@prolog.uk.com, quoting reference DFES-0227-2005. The 2006 edition is the
eighth to be published and guidance for governors of voluntary aided schools is now
included, instead of being published separately. Most information is generic and
applies to all categories of school, but it is important to follow the flagged paragraphs
for voluntary aided schools where guidance is specific.

All governors need to know their legal responsibilities. The Guide explains what the
law says and how it affects governors. It should be read alongside any information
provided by the Diocese and the local authority.

The Diocesan Commission for Schools and Colleges publishes, on behalf of the
Archbishop, advice on matters specific to Catholic education and school governance.
Governors are expected to take this into account in their decision-making.


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                  3
                           Act of Dedication



                           God, our Father,
                          in your goodness,
             strengthen us who have offered ourselves
                as school governors for your Church.

     Renew us with your gifts of wisdom, understanding and
                            patience,
         so that we may govern by word and example
            and live the truth that comes from you.

         In Christ, God has revealed his love and truth.
            May he make us witnesses to the Gospel
                  and to his love for all people,
     especially for those in our community in greatest need.

                   May the Holy Spirit be with us,
  so that we may help the school we have been called to serve
  in a spirit of tolerance and of generous love for one another.

             In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
                      and of the Holy Spirit.


                                  Amen




Handbook for Governors September 2006                              4
                          Model Code of Conduct
The following is not a definitive statement of responsibilities but is concerned with
achieving a common understanding of the basic principles by which the governing
body and individual governors will operate.



       CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE GOVERNING BODY
                 OF (NAME OF SCHOOL)

The governing body of (name of school) adopts the following principles.

General

   1. We are entrusted by the Archbishop (and by the Provincial of N Religious
      Institute) with the ministry of school governance and will always act in
      recognition of the love of Christ for all members of the school community and
      one another.
   2. We have responsibility for determining, monitoring and keeping under review
      the broad policies, plans and procedures within which the school operates.
   3. We recognise that our headteacher is responsible for the implementation of
      policy, management of the school and the implementation and operation of the
      curriculum.
   4. We accept that all governors have equal status, and although appointed or
      elected by different groups, our overriding concern will be the welfare of the
      school as a whole.
   5. We have no legal authority to act individually, except when the governing
      body has given us delegated authority to do so.
   6. We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have
      responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all legal requirements as the employer.
   7. We will encourage open government and shall be seen to be doing so.
   8. We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect other schools and the
      wider community.

Commitment

   9. We acknowledge that accepting office as a governor involves the commitment
       of significant amounts of time and energy.
   10. We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the governing body,
       attend regularly and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service
       on committees and working parties.
   11. We will get to know the school well and respond to opportunities to involve
       ourselves in school activities.
   12. We will consider seriously and act on our individual and collective needs for
       training and development.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 5
Relationships

      13. We will strive to work as a team.
      14. We will seek to develop effective working relationships with our headteacher,
          staff, parents, parishes, Diocese, local authority and other relevant agencies
          and the community.

Confidentiality

      15. We will observe confidentiality regarding proceedings of the governing body
          in meetings and from our visits to school as governors.
      16. We will observe complete confidentiality when required or asked to do so by
          the governing body, especially regarding matters concerning individual staff
          or students.
      17. We will exercise the greatest prudence if a discussion of a potentially
          contentious issue affecting the school arises outside the governing body.

Conduct

      18. We will encourage the open expression of views at meetings, but accept
          collective responsibility for all decisions made by the governing body or its
          delegated agents. This means we will not speak out against decisions, in public
          or private, outside the governing body.
      19. We will only speak or act on behalf of the governing body when we have been
          specifically authorised to do so.
      20. In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting the school we
          will follow the procedures established by the governing body.
      21. Our visits to school will be undertaken within the framework established by
          the governing body, in agreement with the headteacher and staff.
      22. In discharging our duties we will always be mindful of our responsibility to
          maintain and develop the Catholic ethos and reputation of our school.

Suspension

      23. If the need arises to use the sanction of suspending a governor we will do so
          by following the Regulations so as to ensure a fair and objective process.

Removal

      24. We recognise that removing a governor from office is a last resort and that it is
          the appointing bodies that have the power to remove those they appoint.
      25. If the need arises to use the sanction of removing a governor, we will do so by
          following the Regulations so as to ensure a fair and objective process.

  .




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                    6
                               Section 1
                    Catholic Education in the Diocese

The Diocese

The Catholic Diocese of Southwark covers the London boroughs south of the Thames
(Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lambeth,
Lewisham, Merton, Richmond-upon-Thames, Southwark, Sutton and Wandsworth),
the county of Kent and the unitary authority of Medway.

There are 128 voluntary aided Catholic primary schools, 34 voluntary aided Catholic
secondary schools, three Catholic colleges and one Catholic academy in the Diocese.
A second academy will open in September 2007, replacing one primary and one
secondary school. Catholic independent schools include seven primary schools, five
primary and secondary schools and one secondary school.

The Diocese is in the charge of the Archbishop of Southwark. Because of its size, it is
divided into three areas, in each of which the Archbishop is assisted by an area bishop
and the Vicar General. The Archbishop, the area bishops and the Vicar General are
the Trustees of the Diocese.

Each area is divided into groups of parishes called deaneries. One of the parish
priests is elected as dean. In most cases, the geographical area of the deaneries
replicates local authority boundaries. Deaneries and their parishes are central to the
local planning and development of Catholic education.

The Archbishop and Trustees

The Code of Canon Law, the law of the Catholic Church, states ‘The Church has in a
special way the duty and the right of educating, for it has a divine mission of helping
all arrive at the fullness of Christian life. Pastors of souls have the duty of making all
possible arrangements so that all the faithful may avail themselves of a Catholic
education.’ (Canon 794) This duty falls upon the Ordinary of the Diocese, who in
this Diocese is the Archbishop of Southwark. Canon Law sets out the Archbishop’s
responsibilities for safeguarding the religious character of schools in his Diocese and
his right to inspect them. These rights are upheld by English Law.

The Trustees of the Diocese hold property, including schools and parishes, under
Trust Law and in accordance with the Diocesan Trust Deed. The Diocesan Trust
Deed has as its objectives the ‘establishing, maintaining or advancing the Roman
Catholic religion in the Diocese and in one or more of the charitable objects promoted
or served by the Roman Catholic Church within the Diocese’.

There are a number of voluntary aided Catholic schools in the Diocese established by
religious institutes or congregations. Each one will have its own Trust Deed. The
Archbishop has the right to ‘…watch over and inspect the catholic schools situated in
his territory, even those established or directed by members of religious institutes.’
(Canon 806)



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                   7
The Diocesan Education Committee and the Education Executive Committee

The Diocesan Education Committee is a forum for the discussion of major issues
of policy and implementation. The Education Executive Committee makes
decisions relating to these issues, assisted by the advice of the Director of
Education, the Financial Secretary, and the Chair of the Education Committee, and
having considered the views of the Education Committee. Other consultative
committees and groups, based on geographical areas or specific roles, feed in to
these discussions.

The Commission for Schools and Colleges

The Archbishop has established the Commission to support schools and colleges in
the Diocese to enable them to continue and develop their own mission to educate
children and young people in the light and love of Christ. The Commission is led by
the Director of Education, who provides professional advice to the Archbishop and
Trustees.

The Commission helps schools and colleges to develop as communities of
evangelisation which:
    form an integral part of the mission of the Diocese;
    recognise their vocation to work in collaboration with the Archbishop;
    enable all associated with them to grow towards their full human potential;
    are inclusive of people of all abilities, education needs, social backgrounds, and
     ethnic origins;
    support one another in fulfilling the mission of the Diocese and their own
     mission;
    work in the closest possible collaboration with the clergy;
    are characterised by the justice with which governors, parents, teaching staff,
     support staff and pupils act towards one another;
    contribute to the well-being of the local and wider community.

The Commission aims:
   to exercise, on behalf of the Archbishop, the statutory rights he holds under
     education law to provide, maintain and govern Catholic schools (land,
     buildings, Catholic senior staff, governors, ethos, religious education, Section
     48 inspection);
   to exercise, on behalf of the Archbishop, the statutory rights he holds under
     education law to have a place on local authority committees, admissions forums,
     standing advisory councils for religious education, and on school organisation
     committees; to be consulted on local education authority development and other
     key plans, and to receive Section 5 inspection reports;
   to advise the Archbishop on matters relating to education;
   to represent the Archbishop at national level in education matters;
   to represent the Archbishop through pastoral care and support in being
     alongside headteachers and governors and their schools and colleges;
   to enable schools and colleges to recognise, celebrate and develop their
     contribution to the mission of the Diocese;
   to support the clergy in their role in relation to Catholic schools and colleges.
The aims are achieved through a strategic plan which is reviewed annually.


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                8
The Commission maintains contact with other Diocesan agencies, especially those
working with children and young people such as the Christian Education Centre,
Catholic Youth Service and Catholic Children’s Society, the Catholic Education
Service, local authorities and the Department for Education and Skills.

The Commission and governors

The Commission provides:
   the administration of the appointment of foundation governors, on behalf of the
     Archbishop;
   training and support, including guidance on the Catholic character of the school,
     on religious education and on the appointment of headteachers, deputy
     headteachers and leaders of religious education;
   support, including pastoral support, for headteachers, governors, leaders of
     religious education and clergy, especially when schools are in difficulty;
   advice on aspects of education for governors, clergy, parents and teachers;
   advice on the provision and maintenance of school buildings.

Summary of Diocesan education policies relevant to schools and colleges
(approved by the Archbishop and Trustees April 2005)

1. The Diocese is committed to the provision of publicly funded primary, secondary
and sixth form education, in partnership with national and local government.

2. The Diocese seeks to make available, as far as possible, a place in a Catholic
school for every baptised Catholic child whose parents desire this. (See below the
document ‘Planning Provision of School Places: basic principles’, 2003, which states
this commitment.)

3. Within the Diocese, there are a number of schools owned by religious orders and
congregations. These schools bring the richness of their charisms to the provision of
Catholic education in the Diocese and make a considerable contribution to the
available Catholic school places.

4. In some cases, schools have been transferred to Diocesan trusteeship as a result of
changes to priorities and resources within orders or congregations. The Diocese is
always ready to consider such transfers in order to maintain both the availability of
Catholic places and the breadth of existing provision.

5. The Diocese recognises the historical and institutional reasons for the presence of a
number of single sex Catholic schools and values their work. Where any new schools
or amalgamations are being considered, the diocese will normally favour mixed
schools as this more easily ensures a balance of provision for boys and girls, unless
there are specific circumstances which support single sex provision.

6. The Diocese wishes to provide education of the highest quality for pupils of all
abilities. It is committed to comprehensive education and to the inclusion of pupils
with special educational needs, whenever these can be met within mainstream
schooling.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 9
7. The provision of post-16 education in the Diocese is planned to match the
distribution of Catholic communities and secondary schools and the needs of students.
Two sixth form colleges are provided for the inner London boroughs and one for the
Bexley area. In Kent and Medway and the outer London boroughs, most schools have
sixth forms which are either large enough to offer a sufficiently broad curriculum or
are able to work in partnership with sixth forms of other Catholic schools. The
Diocese does not support the introduction of sixth forms unless it can be shown that
there is a need which cannot be met elsewhere, that the full range of the curriculum
can be offered and the highest quality of education provided.

8. In line with the Memorandum of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and
Wales, the posts of headship, deputy headship, heads of religious education
departments and religious education co-ordinators of Catholic schools in the Diocese
must be held by practising Catholics. In exceptional cases, the Archbishop may give
a temporary exemption from this requirement. The Diocese, through the Commission
for Schools and Colleges, provides advice to governors on these appointments.

9. The ownership of buildings and land of schools in the Trusteeship of the Diocese is
normally held by the Diocesan Trustees. Capital funding, for repairs and for new
buildings, is made available from the DfES through varying routes. For most
projects, there is a governors’ liability of 10% of the total cost of the project, to be
raised from voluntary funds.

10. The Diocese, through the Commission for Schools and Colleges, provides
guidance to governors on Admissions policies and practice.

11. Foundation governors are commissioned by the Archbishop to monitor and
promote the Catholic character and ethos of the school.

12. All governors of Catholic schools in the Diocese are responsible for promoting
the Catholic life and ethos of the school, including the allocation of 10% curriculum
time for religious education (5% post-16).

Planning for provision of school places: basic principles (2003)

The Archdiocese of Southwark affirms its commitment to work in partnership with
LEAs to ensure there are enough schools in number, character and equipment to meet
the needs of the pupils in the area. The following principles will inform decisions on
school places:

   Catholic voluntary aided schools are rooted in the Catholic community of local
    parishes and the Diocese

   Catholic schools are part of the Church’s educational mission and must be able to
    sustain their identity and mission in their particular circumstances. Their
    distinctive identity is recognised by law and demonstrated in their Instrument of
    Government. The land on which the schools are built is owned by the Trustees of
    the Dioceses or by a Religious Congregation




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                10
   The educational mission of Catholic schools includes care for the poor, the
    disadvantaged and those with special educational needs: this care must be evident
    in decisions on school places

   The Church is committed to comprehensive education in all the LEAs of the
    Diocese. Comprehensive education expresses Gospel values, based on the belief
    that every individual is created by God and given talents, which should be
    nurtured and developed

   Catholic parents should have their choice of a Catholic education for their child
    met by Catholic school provision, wherever reasonably possible

   Catholic parents’ right to choose Catholic education extends both to nursery
    places and to sixth form provision

   Catholic voluntary aided schools must offer standards of education which are at
    least as high as those offered by community and foundation schools.




Resources on the website of the Commission for Schools and Colleges

www.rcsouthwark.org.uk

Bishops’ Conference Guidance on the Appointment of Teachers to Catholic Schools
SCSC Guidance to Governing Bodies on the Appointment of a Headteacher to a
VA Secondary School or College
SCSC Guidance to Governing Bodies on the Appointment of a Headteacher to VA
Primary School
SCSC Guidance on Admissions for Voluntary Aided Schools
Secondary Admissions Appeals: Guidance for parents
Primary Admission Appeals: Guidance for parents
Interim Guidance on Hard to Place Children January 05
Education in Human Love (Policy for Sex and Relationship Education)
A note on resources for sex and relationship education
CES Model Grievance Procedure
CES Model Capability Procedure
CES Model Sickness Absence Procedure
CES Model Disciplinary Procedure
SCSC Guidance on School Complaints Procedures

These are reviewed and added to on a regular basis.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                             11
                             Section 2
           The Distinctive Nature of the Catholic School

‘The Catholic school is not just an environment providing a series of lessons, it
operates out of an educational policy which aims to meet the needs of the young
people today in the light of the Church’s faith in Jesus Christ.’ (The Religious
Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, Congregation for Catholic
Education, 1988)

In practice this means that a school’s Catholic character is witnessed to in all facets of
its life and there is no separation into ‘secular’ and ‘religious’. The experience of
learning across all subjects is a search for God’s truth in the whole of creation. For the
school to be truly Catholic this vision must be shared by all concerned with its work.

The key characteristics of a Catholic school are:
   a vision shaped by the personal faith and commitment of its leaders;
   a staff that understands and is committed to the school’s mission;
   a set of aims and objectives to ensure that this vision is achieved in the reality of
     the day to day life of the school;
   a praying and worshipping community where sacramental and liturgical
     celebration are integral to the learning experiences of all within the school
     community;
   religious education at the heart of the curriculum;
   the presence of God recognised in the uniqueness of each individual and in each
     person’s specific talents and gifts;
   a community to which each individual makes a unique and valued contribution,
     open to the world in which we live and seeking to change it for the better;
   where the curriculum and all policies and procedures are rooted firmly in the
     values taught and lived by Jesus Christ;
   where success is celebrated and failure is treated with compassion.

Evaluating the distinctive nature of the Catholic school

Foundation governors are charged with the responsibility of preserving and
developing the religious character of the school on behalf of the Archbishop, but all
governors share in this responsibility because it is the ethos of the school. They have
a duty always to act in a way consistent with the school’s ethos and religious
character.

The school’s mission should be expressed in a statement and in aims and objectives
that make clear to all in the school community how the school will live out this
mission from day to day. Governors should work with the headteacher, staff, pupils
and parents in ensuring that their policies reflect the school’s mission. Admissions,
discipline, sex education, curriculum and personnel matters are areas which require
particular care.

In carrying out their duties, governors may find the document Evaluating the
Distinctive Nature of the Catholic School (CES 1999) helpful. This covers such areas



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                  12
as policy formation, school environment, relationships, curriculum, SEN, multi-
cultural education, equal opportunities, RE, chaplaincy, worship and the Catholic
school in the community.

The common good in education

Governors should bear in mind the Church’s social teaching as set out in The
Common Good in Education (CES 1997). They should pay particular attention to the
their responsibility towards those who are poor and disadvantaged, or who have
Special Educational Needs.

As The Common Good in Education points out, it is crucial for schools and colleges
to ensure that those who do not succeed academically are valued by the community as
a whole, and to celebrate the fact that those who have not achieved high grades may
well have tried as hard, if not harder, than those who have.

The development of the whole person, socially and emotionally as well as spiritually
and academically, is the purpose of the Catholic school. Catholic schools need to
demonstrate commitment to this development in their provision for social and
emotional development. For example, the code of conduct or behaviour and
discipline policy will recognise individual needs, as well as those of the whole school.

In accepting their appointment, foundation governors take on the responsibility to
work for Catholic education in the Diocese as a whole, as well as specific
responsibilities for their own school. The Church’s social teaching calls them to work
in collaboration with other schools and to act against the spirit of unhelpful
competition that can sometimes enter education. As well as mutual support,
governors should be willing to consider seconding headteachers or other staff when
other schools are in need.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                13
                                  Section 3
                            Partners in the Service

In addition to the relationship with the Diocese, of which the school is an integral part,
governors will work in partnership with others.

Department for Education and Skills

This is the current title for the government department with responsibility for
education in England and Wales. The Secretary of State, who has extensive powers in
relation to all schools, heads the department.

The Secretary of State is responsible for the promotion of education through the
introduction of Acts of Parliament (primary legislation). These Acts govern the
Secretary of State’s powers to make regulations relating to various aspects of
education (secondary legislation). The regulations determine to a large extent how
schools are governed; they include the national curriculum and assessment, target
setting, and the requirement for governors and headteachers to make information
available on the educational provision and standards in the school.

The DfES supports governors in the application of regulations by issuing guidance
documents and Codes of Practice, for example, guidance documents on Pupil
Inclusion, Safe-guarding Children, and Extended Schools, and Codes of Practice on
School Admissions and Appeals and Special Educational Needs.

The Secretary of State has power to intervene to prevent governors of aided schools
acting unreasonably, to settle disputes between voluntary aided schools and the local
authority, to determine objections regarding religious aspects of schools’ admissions
procedures and to act as the last stage in complaints made about governing bodies.

The DfES is responsible for some grants to support building projects in voluntary
aided schools. It provides training for governors and governing bodies through the
National College of School Leadership.

The DfES has a special relationship with the sponsors and governors of academies
and changes to certain policies, such as admission policies, must be approved by the
Secretary of State as well as by the sponsors.

Local authorities

Local authorities have wide responsibilities for a range of services for children and
young people under the Children’s Act (2004) which includes the five outcomes of
Every Child Matters (2003):
    Be healthy
    Stay safe
    Enjoy and achieve
    Make a positive contribution
    Achieve economic well being.


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                  14
The local authority is responsible for organising education and overseeing the
provision of school places suitable to the age and aptitude of all children within the
area. The principles for this planning must be contained within the Children and
Young Peoples Plan, which is a statutory requirement for local authorities. The local
authority controls the overall budget for education and allocates budgets to maintained
schools through a fair funding formula, implemented following consultation with
schools and other parties.

The local authority has a duty to support schools to achieve continuous improvement.
The relationship between schools and the local authority is based upon intervention in
inverse proportion to success, with the greatest possible delegation of funding and
responsibility to schools.

The local authority is required to monitor school performance and the governing body
of a voluntary aided school is accountable to the local authority for the way the school
is run. If a local authority feels a school is demonstrating cause for concern it has a
duty to inform the governing body, headteacher, the Diocese and other stakeholders.
The local authority must offer appropriate support. It has the power to intervene to
ensure the school can raise standards through such measures as issuing a formal notice
of concern, withdrawing the delegated budget or appointing additional governors to
the governing body. If a local authority appoints additional governors, the Diocese
can also appoint the same number of additional foundation governors.

The local authority has the duty to agree action for school improvement following an
OFSTED inspection if the school is found to require special measures, or has been
served with a notice to improve.

Local authorities also have responsibility for aspects of children’s welfare such as
provision for those with special educational needs, school attendance, school
transport, educational psychology and inclusion.

Staff

The governing body of a voluntary aided school is the employer of staff and must
have regard to employment law in the recruitment, appointment, appraisal and, if
applicable, dismissal of a member of staff. In a voluntary aided school the Diocesan
authority should be awarded the same advisory rights as the local authority with
respect to teacher appointments and dismissals.

In Catholic schools governors may legally give preference to teachers whose religious
opinions are in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church, who attend
Mass and who give, or are willing to give, Catholic religious education. A governing
body may have regard to any conduct that is incompatible with Catholic teaching in
dismissing a teacher.

It is a requirement of all the Bishops of England and Wales that the posts of
headteacher and deputy headteacher and leaders of religious education are reserved
for practising Catholics. In Southwark, Diocesan policy requires governing bodies to
liaise with the Commission for Schools and Colleges prior to advertising the posts of



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                15
headteacher and deputy headteacher. A member of the Commission staff should be
present at headteacher interviews to represent the Archbishop.

The headteacher

The headteacher is by law responsible for the internal organisation, management and
control of the school. The governing body can delegate some areas of its
responsibility, such as aspects of staffing and finance, to the headteacher.

In additional to these statutory functions the headteachers of voluntary aided Catholic
schools are expected to take the lead with the governors in developing the Catholic
ethos and distinctive nature of the Catholic school and providing a high quality
Catholic education.

The headteacher also has the duty to assist the governing body in the exercise of its
functions, attend meetings of the governing body and make such reports on the
discharge of his or her functions as may be reasonably required.

Other staff

Governors do not have statutory links with other staff beyond that of employer but, as
constructively critical friends of the school, they may meet staff during their visits to
the school or receive reports from them on specific areas, such as the curriculum, at
committee meetings.

Parents and carers

Parents or carers are responsible for seeing that their children are educated between
the ages of 5-16. Statutory school age starts in the term after a child’s fifth birthday.
Most parents send their children to school, although they may choose to educate them
at home or elsewhere. Parents and carers of baptised Catholic children normally
chose a Catholic primary school if one is available. The Catholic school should
support parents and carers in their role as the first educators of their children. It must
be welcoming to them and encourage their participation in the life of the school. It
should guard against judging those who, for whatever reason, find this difficult.

Parents or carers must make sure that children attend school regularly and punctually.
They sign a home-school agreement which sets out the school’s and parents’
responsibilities and they are expected to meet their part in this agreement. If
relationships between the parent or carer and the school are impaired or break down,
all efforts must be made towards reconciliation. The partnership between the home,
school and parish should be a recognised strength of the Catholic school.

Pupils

Schools exist for children and young people. Although this may appear to be an
obvious statement, governing bodies can lose sight of it in the midst of their myriad
duties and responsibilities. Governing bodies are now required to seek the views of
pupils in the development and management of the school.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                  16
‘Jesus…took a little child whom he set by his side and then he said to them, “Anyone
who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me: and anyone who welcomes
me, welcomes the one who sent me.’ (Luke 9.47/48)

In law, a governing body has general responsibility for the conduct of the school with
a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. In Catholic schools,
governing bodies are also responsible for seeing that children are supported and
helped in developing their faith. Governing bodies should be clear how this important
responsibility can be fulfilled, following agreed procedures. To do this, governors
need an understanding of the nature of the school’s population, its diversity and its
challenges. In their monitoring role, they will wish to know about, for example, the
quality of relationships and the opportunities for prayer and liturgy.

In accordance with Christian principles, governors should ensure that the most
disadvantaged pupils gain appropriate support. These may include children with
Special Educational Needs, with English as an Additional Language, new arrivals,
refugees, asylum seekers, and gifted and talented pupils.

Parishes

The partnership of home, school and parish is central to the Catholic school. The
location of many Catholic primary schools facilitates good communication and the
school should be recognised for its place in parish ministry.

The quality of relationship between the school and parish priest is very important and
governing bodies should ensure that the parish priest has opportunities to be involved
in the life of the school wherever possible. Support for newly appointed parish priests
may need to be offered. Schools serving a number of parishes will need to consider
how best to ensure good communication.

Maintaining links between secondary schools and parishes is more difficult, as pupils
are normally drawn from many parishes over a wide area. Schools can still involve
parish priests in the life of the school and encourage pupils’ involvement within the
life of their parishes. It is important that secondary schools continue to develop links
with parishes and there are good examples of this at deanery level.

The wider community

The mission of the Catholic school takes its mission from that of the Church as a
whole: it is to be a witness to Christ and to proclaim the gospel.

Governing bodies will need to ensure the school is promoted within the wider
community and a good reputation established. There is an increasing demand on
schools to develop links with business, the voluntary sector and other organisations.
Often governors have personal contacts and experience to contribute. It is important
that when links are made, there is an understanding of the aims and mission of the
Catholic school. Schools will also develop informal links through working with local
residents’ associations or action groups. Again, an understanding of how this is part
of the mission of the Catholic school is important.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                17
Governors have a statutory duty to eliminate racial discrimination and promote good
race relations within the school. The school should be seen as an excellent example
of good race relations within the community.

The wider community also includes any part of the world in which the actions of the
school can make a difference. Catholic schools should be encouraged to continue
supporting the work of the Church, especially in poorer parts of the world.

Any member of the public can obtain information from the school under the Freedom
of Information Act (2000). Governing bodies must comply with any request made
under this Act. However, the Data Protection Act continues to safeguard personal
information such as names and addresses of staff and pupils and must also be
observed.

Governing bodies should have procedures in place for dealing with complaints about
the school and what it provides for pupils. A model procedure is available on the
website of the Diocesan Commission for Schools and Colleges.

Other schools

In the light of their responsibility to work for the Common Good, co-operation
between Catholic schools should be outstanding. Schools can work together on the
development of policies and in some cases, share provision and resources. It is also
important for Catholic schools to work together to support pupils, such as transferring
a pupil between schools when this is in the best interests of the pupil. Links between
Catholic secondary and primary schools are important in ensuring continuity of
experience in children’s lives. Links between Catholic secondary schools without
sixth forms and Catholic sixth form colleges ensure the opportunity for an all through
Catholic education.

There are occasions when it is appropriate for Catholic schools to work with other
faith schools or community schools in sharing expertise. Recent initiatives at
secondary level, such as the 14-19 Strategy and Work-Related Learning, mean that
schools and colleges will need to collaborate in curriculum provision. Students may
be studying some subjects in institutions which are not Catholic and students who are
not Catholic may study some of their subjects in Catholic schools. Arrangements will
need to be in place to ensure appropriate care for all pupils in this situation.

Governing bodies should consult the Commission if they are considering entering into
any formal collaborative arrangements.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                               18
                          Section 4
       The Role and Responsibilities of Governing Bodies
The legal status of the governing body

There is no statutory definition of the role of the school governor, but various Acts of
Parliament and regulations place responsibilities on governing bodies in relation to
what is necessary for the discharge of their functions to ensure good governance and
continuous improvement.

It is important to realise that the responsibility is on the governing body and not the
governor. Governors cannot and must not attempt to discharge these functions
personally.

Governing bodies are public authorities and therefore are publicly accountable in
relation to, for example, the management of the school budget, staff recruitment and
health and safety. In voluntary aided Catholic schools this also applies to admissions
and to staff grievance, capability and discipline. As public authorities, governors are
bound by other laws which are not specific to schools but include them, such as the
Data Protection Act, Freedom of Information Act, Race Relations Act, Disability
Discrimination Act and Human Rights Act.

Governing bodies of voluntary aided Catholic schools are corporate bodies with
exempt charitable status. The exempt charitable status is by virtue of the School
Standards and Framework Act (1998), which means that the school will not receive a
charity number from the charity Commissioners. It is important that schools do not
use the Diocesan charity number on any correspondence or communication as the
Diocese has charitable status which is different and separate from schools. There are
a few occasions where schools may be required to give the Diocesan charity number,
but they should consult with the Commission before doing this.

As the governing body is a corporate body, individual governors are generally
protected from personal liability as a result of governing bodies’ decisions and actions
unless, for instance, a governor were to be found to be acting fraudulently. It is
essential that no individual governor acts in a personal capacity unless powers have
been delegated to her or him by a formal resolution of the governing body. This also
applies to the Chair, unless acting in an emergency.

The powers of the governing body

The role of the governing body is strategic. This means that it sets out:
    the aims and objectives of the school
    the vision and mission of the school
    policies and procedures by which the aims and objectives will be achieved
    criteria by which the aims and objectives will be seen to be achieved.

Governing bodies also have responsibilities to agree other aspects that impact on the
management of the school, including:
    Managing the school budget


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                19
      Ensuring curriculum entitlement
      Ensuring national curriculum assessments are carried out and reporting them
       as required
      Appointing the headteacher and deputy headteacher and determining how
       other staff are appointed
      Procedures related to staff grievance, capability and discipline
      Establishing a staff appraisal system in consultation with staff
      Managing the governors’ duties in relation to pupils with Special Educational
       Needs.

In using these powers governing bodies of voluntary aided schools must at all times
act in accordance with:
     The Instrument of Government of the school
     The current School Governance and Terms of Reference Regulations
     The Trust Deed of the Diocese or religious institution which provides the
        school
     Provisions of Canon Law relating to schools
     Any Diocesan directive affecting schools
     Any requirement from the local authority relating to finance.

Governing bodies of voluntary aided Catholic schools must also act in accordance
with:
    Advice and policies of the Diocese (and of the Trustees of the school if not in
      Diocesan trusteeship)
    Statutory Codes of Practice
    DfES guidance

Categories of governors

Governing bodies are made up of different categories of governors. The categories
are (from September 2006) foundation governors, local authority governors, staff
governors, parent governors and sponsor governors. The exact number for each
category is set out in the school’s Instrument of Governance.

Foundation governors

Governors of voluntary aided Catholic schools are appointed by the Archbishop for
schools in Diocesan trusteeship and by the Provincial or other Trustee representative
for schools provided by a religious institution. Diocesan policy requires foundation
governors to be practising Catholics and they therefore have to be recommended by
the parish priest for appointment to primary schools and the dean for appointment to
secondary schools. They are required to state their commitment to Catholic education
and to agree to be checked against List 99 for child protection purposes.

Foundation governors in voluntary aided Catholic schools have a statutory duty to
preserve and develop the religious character of the school and ensure compliance with
the Trust Deed. They must always be in the majority in voluntary aided Catholic
schools.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                             20
Governors are supported in their role by the Commission for Schools and Colleges
through training, guidance and policies and by advice to individual governing bodies
where appropriate.

Sponsor governors

Governing bodies may not appoint sponsor governors unless the Instrument of
Government provides for this. If governing bodies are considering the appointment of
sponsor governors, they should discuss this with the Commission for Schools and
Colleges. The Instrument of Government must be written in such a way as to
maintain the majority of foundation governors.

Sponsor governors can give assistance in cash or kind to the school and they have full
voting rights. It is essential that the reputation and ethos of the Catholic school is not
compromised within the parish or local Catholic community through association with
certain businesses or enterprises. Very careful consideration must be given to this.

Other categories

Other categories of governors are appointed or elected as appropriate. Although they
have no specific statutory duty to preserve or develop the religious character of the
school, as part of the governing body they take on a commitment to the aims,
objectives and mission of the school, which will make clear its religious character and
distinctive nature.

Regulations allow a governing body to suspend an individual governor who has acted
in a way that is inconsistent with the school’s ethos and religious character and has
brought, or is likely to bring, the school, the governing body or the office of governor
into disrepute.

The role of the Chair

The Chair and Vice-Chair of the governing body are generally elected annually at the
first meeting of the governing body in each academic year, but may have a longer
term of office of up to four years. Although the office of Chair is open to any
governor who does not undertake paid work at the school, it is the Diocesan
expectation that these posts will be held by foundation governors to ensure
compliance with the Trust Deed.

The main responsibility of the Chair and Vice-Chair is to ensure the smooth and
effective operation of the school’s governance. This will include the Chair (or Vice-
Chair) meeting regularly with the headteacher.

It is important that the Chair develops a good working relationship with the clerk and
they should hold regular meetings. The following points may help this relationship:
      The clerk should be able to contact the Chair outside school, including during
        holiday times, if an urgent decision needs to be taken
      There is a routine of regular meetings
      There is agreement on how the Chair’s correspondence is dealt with.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                  21
The Chair must ensure that the governing body is able to work effectively. All papers
and agendas should reach individual governors prior to meetings, so that meetings are
productive. The Chair should also maintain a watching brief on the working of
committees and their contribution to the governance of the school.

Managing meetings

It is the Chair’s responsibility to guide discussion, without dominating it, to ensure
that what is being said is relevant, to see that all have an opportunity to speak and to
keep good order. When discussion is complete the Chair should summarise the main
points and, if necessary, put any motion to the vote. It is not always necessary to put
issues to a formal vote; the discussion at the meeting may be a sufficiently clear
indication.

Governors are not delegates of a particular nominating body and cannot be mandated
or told how to vote. Decisions taken should be clear and indicate, where necessary,
any action to be taken, by whom and when.

Meetings should include prayer and all business should be conducted in line with
Christian principles.

Chair’s action

It is generally accepted that the Chair needs powers to act at times when it is not
practical to call a full governing body meeting. The extent to which a Chair may act
individually will depend on the level of delegation given by the governing body.
Usually, numerous small decisions are taken between the Chair and headteacher.

Very occasionally, decisions having more serious implications for the school
community, for example, health and safety or staff conduct, are needed, when it is not
possible to call a full governing body meeting prior to the decision having to be made.
In this eventuality the Chair should inform the Chair of the appropriate committee, the
Vice-Chair or the headteacher why the decision has been taken.

Any decision taken under Chair’s action must normally be reported at the next full
governing body meeting for it to be ratified. It may sometimes be necessary to call an
extraordinary meeting to do this. There are a few occasions when it would not be
appropriate to consult the full governing body before a decision is taken, for example
during the process of disciplinary action against an employee.

Confidentiality

It is the Chair’s role to manage the confidentiality of the work of the governors where
this is appropriate. Other governors should respect the fact that the Chair and possibly
another governor may be in possession of information that cannot be shared more
widely.

Governors will be party to confidential information relating to pupils and staff,
families, contractors, prospective employees and so on. Such information must be
treated in the utmost confidence and any reference to it should only take place within


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                22
governing body or committee meetings, unless an individual governor has been
delegated with a role that involves using the information.

Governing bodies are required to publish minutes of meetings. These minutes are a
general summary of the business of the meeting, outlining items discussed and
decisions made. There should be no reference to ‘who said what’ or who voted in a
particular way. A decision made by the governing body becomes the decision of the
full governing body and individual governors must support it.

Governing body meetings may have confidential items on agendas, such as staff or
pupil discipline. Any discussion under such headings is confidential to the governing
body, will be recorded in Part 2 minutes and must not be referred to outside the
meeting. Governors may not refer to any business other than that recorded in Part 1
minutes. To reveal any discussions, or to pass on information in Part 2 minutes,
would be a breach of confidentiality. The governing body may suspend a governor if
he or she is in breach of the duty of confidentiality to the school, staff or pupils.

Chair’s casting vote

The Chair must exercise the casting vote if a vote is tied. There is a convention that
when the casting vote is used, it will maintain the status quo. The reason for this is to
ensure that changes are not made when there is no majority support. This would also
apply to any amendments to an original resolution, so that if the vote is tied on the
amendment, the casting vote is used to preserve the original resolution. Chairs do not
have casting votes in relation to the election of the Chair or Vice-Chair.

Relationship with the headteacher

The relationship between the Chair and headteacher is crucial to good governance and
therefore impinges on the conduct and work of the school as a whole. It is the
interface between the formal level of control of and responsibility for the school and
its day-to-day management.

Parish priests as Chairs

The presence of the parish priest on the governing body is very important. Parish
priests who are foundation governors are eligible to stand for election as Chair
(providing they do not hold a paid post such as chaplain within the school), but this
would not normally be advisable. The duties of the Chair may conflict with the
pastoral role of the priest (for example, a disciplinary matter involving a member of
staff who is a parishioner). There may, of course, be occasions when circumstances
require the parish priest to take on this responsibility.

Governors’ visits to the school

Although governors do not have a statutory right of access to the school, governing
bodies will work with the headteacher, and other staff as appropriate, to ensure they
are informed about the work of the school. This will be done mainly at committee
meetings but can only be carried out effectively if governors visit to see the school in
action. Most schools encourage governor visits and have a protocol in place for these.


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 23
Attendance at meetings other than in school

The demands on governors often require Chairs and other governors to attend
meetings outside school, for example, with the Diocese, local authority, or DfES.
Although governors may not be representing the school specifically at such meetings,
they should not act or vote in any way which would be detrimental to it.

Code of conduct

It is important that the governing body is and is seen to be an effective working group.
This does not mean that there will always be agreement; lively debate and challenge
are necessary for progress. Governors should be encouraged to initiate discussion,
seek explanation and put forward alternative view points. Individual input must result
in collective action and, in the final analysis, it is the governing body that makes
decisions and implements them. Once a decision has been made, all governors must
support it. This process should be managed carefully to avoid conflict and
misinterpretation. It is advisable that the governing body agree a code of conduct.

Training

Training for governors is available from the Diocese, from local authorities and from
the DfES. All governors should receive training for their role.

Declarations of interest

Governors come from many walks of life. There may be occasions when the presence
of an individual governor could lead to a conflict of interest, such as when a
governor’s relative has bid for a school contract. There are rules governing how
governors should act if they have a personal involvement or a direct or indirect
pecuniary interest in any proposed contract or other matter being discussed. Such
interests must be declared as soon as is practical, even if the issue arises unexpectedly
during a meeting. The governor must withdraw from the meeting for this item and
take no part in the discussion or in any vote on it.

A pecuniary interest will apply not solely to the governor personally, but also to
relatives, spouses, partners or relatives of these. A staff governor is not deemed to
have a pecuniary interest unless he or she has an interest greater that that of the body
of employees generally. For example, staff governors may take part in discussions on
pay policies but not on items relating to their personal position. Governors employed
at the school, except the headteacher, must withdraw from the meeting when any
employee’s appraisal is being discussed. The headteacher must withdraw when her or
his salary is being discussed.

The following are examples when governors should withdraw from the meeting or
take no part in discussion and decision-making:
     when companies owned or managed by relatives, partners or spouses, or
       relatives of these, bid for contracts in the school
     where a relative, partner, spouse or relatives of these, or a close friend, is
       being interviewed for a post in the school


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 24
      where a company or business with which the governor has had a previous
       association, e.g. employment, direction or significant share holder, bids for a
       contract in the school
     where a governor is a parent or relative of a child seeking admission to the
       school
     where a governor has provided a reference or information other than
       requirements on a common application form for a child seeking admission to
       the school (priests who have provided references for a child seeking admission
       to the school and who are also governors should not take part in discussion or
       decisions on admissions)
     a headteacher governor, when the individual school range (ISR), which
       determines the range of salaries for the headteacher, is discussed.
Individual governors may not generate business or income through their work as
governors of the school.

Allowances for expenses

Governing bodies with a delegated budget can choose whether or not to pay
allowances to governors and associate members. Governors should not be out of
pocket in carrying out their duties. In making their decision to pay or nor to pay
allowances, they should be sensitive to the financial status of potential governors who
may be excluded if the role of governor is perceived as making financial demands.
Allowances can be made for care arrangements for a dependant relative, including
child care, telephone charges, postage, photocopying, stationery and travel and
subsistence. Loss of earnings cannot be recompensed in full or in part, nor can
governors be paid attendance fees for meetings.

Governing bodies should make provision for allowances from within the delegated
budget. Costs incurred are subject to normal financial regulations and audit, so
receipts are necessary. Governing bodies without delegated budgets may have
allowances made by the local authority at a rate determined by them.

Meetings

All governing bodies are required to meet at least three times in a school year. This is
normally termly, but this is not an absolute requirement. Governing bodies may need
to meet more often either on a regular basis, for instance when schools are in
challenging circumstances, or as a specific need arises, for example to agree a
particular policy or a budget plan. A full governing body meeting can be requested by
any three governors giving a notice to the clerk that summarises the business to be
conducted; this would only be done in exceptional circumstances.

The relationship between the Chair and clerk is vital in ensuring that governors carry
out their statutory responsibilities and that governing body meetings are an ongoing
part of school improvement. The Chair has responsibility for finalising the agenda
and prioritising agenda items. This should be done in consultation with the
headteacher and clerk.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                25
Governors will include a time for prayer in meetings. Some governing bodies have
their own school governor prayer; the Act of Dedication in this guidance could be
used.

Full governing body meetings

Seven days written notice by letter, not e-mail, of a meeting is required. In
emergencies a meeting can be called by the Chair at shorter notice, but not if the
meeting is to consider the removal of the Chair or Vice Chair, the suspension of a
governor or a proposal to close the school. There are a number of statutory items that
will appear on the agenda of the three statutory meetings.

The meeting may have two parts:
   1. This will be most of the business. The minutes are made public.
   2. This will be confidential business, for example staff or pupil discipline. The
      minutes are not made public and the information is confidential to governors.

Every governor has the right to attend a full governing body meeting. There will be
times when individual governors will have to withdraw for items in which they have
an interest (see above). The governing body may invite observers and give them the
right to contribute, but they cannot be given the right to vote. A number of schools
invite members of the senior leadership team as regular observers and this is good
practice, supporting their continuing professional development and assisting the flow
of information.

The governing body may also invite other people to speak on particular topics at their
meetings. This requires the permission of the full governing body and it is important
to remember that individual governors cannot invite speakers.

Quorum

A governing body meeting must be quorate if there are formal decisions to be taken.
The quorum must be half the actual membership, excluding vacancies, rounded up to
a whole number. Observers cannot be included. If a meeting becomes inquorate part
way through, the Chair should stop the meeting and arrange for the clerk to convene
another as soon as possible. An inquorate meeting may continue with business at the
level of general discussion only.

Role of the Chair at governing body meetings

      To liaise with the clerk and headteacher prior to the meeting in setting the
       agenda
      To ensure that the meeting includes a time of prayer
      To ensure appropriate time is given to each item on the agenda
      To ensure that everyone has opportunity to contribute and speak freely and
       that no one person dominates the meeting
      To make clear when a proposal is being tabled and to ensure that the exact
       wording is understood by all present and is recorded by the clerk
      To ensure that, when voting, all present are clear on what they are voting for
       and what the results will entail


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                              26
      To ensure that the conduct of the meeting is in accordance with the mission
       statement for the school and Diocesan policies
      To ensure that individual governors work within the code of conduct
      To sum up the main points of the meeting

Role of the clerk

Governing body meetings must be clerked. The governing body appoints the clerk
and has the power to dismiss him or her. The clerk is accountable to the governing
body. The clerk must not be a governor, though in the absence of the clerk a governor
may act as clerk for that meeting only.

The role of the clerk is:
    To liaise with the Chair and headteacher in setting the agenda
    To convene the meeting, to attend it and to take the minutes
    To maintain a register of membership of the governing body and report
       vacancies
    To maintain a register of attendance at each meeting
    To maintain a register of interests
    To prepare supporting papers and ensure that they are received with the
       agenda by all members at least seven days before a meeting
    To be familiar with relevant legislation
    To give and receive notices in accordance with relevant Regulations
    To ensure procedural correctness at meetings
    To oversee the election of the Chair and Vice Chair
    To ensure that minutes are circulated and published
A job description may be found in Governing a Catholic School: A Handbook for
Clerks (CES 2000), which also contains model standing orders.

The governing body should remunerate the clerk on an agreed scale. The local
authority will be able to advise. This helps the governing body receive a professional
service and also protects the impartiality of the role. Some schools have been
accustomed to using members of the school support staff as clerks, but this should be
avoided wherever possible as it may lead to difficulties in the separation of duties and
conflict of roles. When appointing a clerk, the governing body should ensure that
training is provided; it is a highly skilled professional role.

Minutes

It is a statutory requirement for all governing body meetings to be minuted. The
minutes of the previous meeting should be circulated by the clerk after consultation
with the Chair. The headteacher should not normally be party to this consultation
unless specific enquiries with regard to accuracy are requested by the Chair.

Minutes are not a verbatim account of the meeting but should present a general report
of the areas discussed and decisions made. They should not record contributions from
individual governors. Once minutes have been agreed and signed, a copy should be
made available for public information. How this is done is up to governing bodies.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                27
Any items which are confidential under Part 2 of the business of the meeting must not
be published or discussed by any member of the governing body outside the meeting.

Committees

Committees are small groups of governors with a remit for a particular area where the
full governing body delegates responsibility, which may include the authority to make
decisions. The full governing body remains accountable for all decisions, including
those made by a committee. The governing body determines the membership and
proceedings for each committee and reviews them at least annually. A committee
must have a Chair, either appointed by the governing body or elected by the
committee.

It is recommended that committees with delegated functions are established for:
      Admissions
      Finance: including setting a budget plan for approval by the governing body
      Pupil discipline, including discipline policies and exclusions
      Staff discipline, including appeals. Although the law allows governing bodies
         to delegate dismissal to headteachers, the CES model staff discipline
         procedures advise that this function is maintained by the governing body.
         Three governors will be needed and a further three for an appeal if required.
         The Diocese strongly recommends that the CES procedures are adopted as
         these take account of the religious character of the school.

Committees with delegated functions must be clerked; the clerk may be a governor,
but not the headteacher. The clerk for each committee has similar responsibilities to
the clerk to the governing body. Members of committees must receive seven days
notice of meetings and agendas must be provided. In exceptional circumstances the
Chair can determine a shorter period. The quorum is three governors.

Minutes for each committee meeting will be presented by the Chair in liaison with the
clerk. These minutes are also available to the public and they should present a general
record of the area covered and decisions made. There may be confidential matters
which should be treated as the Part 2 items of a full governing body meeting. When
the governing body sets up committees, the terms of reference should include the duty
to report back to the full governing body. The best way for this to be done is by
tabling the committee minutes at the next governing body meeting.

The Governing Body may convene sub-committees or working groups, whose work
will advise the full Governing Body in making decisions in appropriate areas. These
may include curriculum, premises, and health and safety. Although there is no
requirement for these to be clerked, it is advisable that minutes are taken and are
presented as a record of the meeting to the full governing body.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                               28
                                Section 5
                        Admissions and Exclusions

The requirements relating to admission to Catholic voluntary aided schools are
complex. What follows should be read in conjunction with Chapter 10 of the Guide
to the Law and with the Diocesan Guidance on Admissions, which can be found on
the web site of the Commission for Schools and Colleges.

The role of the governing body

The governing body of a voluntary aided school is its admissions authority. That
means that the governing body is responsible for determining the admission
arrangements to the school, including the over-subscription criteria which come into
effect if there are more applications than places available, and applying these fairly.

The governing body must consult on its admissions policy and procedures at least
every two years, or every year if there are changes, or there has been an adjudication
on the school’s admissions procedures. This consultation is with other admissions
authorities, including local authorities within the school’s area. Governing bodies
should liaise with their local authority to identify the appropriate consultees.
Governing bodies are strongly advised to consult with the Diocese; it is likely that this
will be required under the new Admissions code. Governors must take into account
any response from the consultation process before determining admission
arrangements for the following year. Local consultation should be completed and
arrangements determined by the statutory dates, notifying all those who have been
consulted. This must be done individually and not on a website, as the responsibility
is for the governors to notify, not for those consulted to find out.

Once admission arrangements for a particular year have been determined, they cannot
be changed unless there is a significant change of circumstances. The proposed
change must then be referred to the Schools Adjudicator and all parties previously
consulted must be informed.

Governing bodies may delegate the function of determining applications for places in
the school to a committee. It is strongly recommended that the headteacher be a
member of the committee, but she or he cannot act in place of the governing body in
determining arrangements, or in deciding whether to offer or refuse a place to a child.
It is advisable that a parish priest should not be a member of any admissions
committee considering applications for which he has provided evidence.

The governing body must ensure that it acts lawfully at all times.

Objections to admissions arrangements

The governing body of a voluntary aided school can object to the Schools Adjudicator
about the arrangements of other admissions authorities within the relevant area. The
Adjudicator’s decision is binding. Difficulties surrounding admissions can appear
intractable. Governing bodies should take all possible steps to resolve concerns about



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 29
the admission arrangements of other Catholic schools before they consider having
recourse to the Adjudicator, as such action does not build up the Catholic community.

Co-ordinated Admissions Schemes

The local authority must draw up a scheme to coordinate admissions within its area
and consult with other admissions authorities. Parents will complete one application
form, called a Common Application Form, which is available from the local authority.
Parents are allowed to express preferences for schools including Catholic schools.
Catholic voluntary aided schools no longer have their own application form, but they
do have a supplementary information form asking for information relevant to the
Catholic school, such as proof of baptism.

Although the local authority administers the coordinated scheme, it is for the
governing body of the Catholic voluntary aided school to decide which children are
offered places by rank-ordering applicants according to their own school’s over-
subscription criteria. In most schemes, governing bodies will not know what
preference their school has been given by an applicant. Therefore it is probable that a
number of pupils offered places up to the published admission number will have
gained a place at another school to which they have given a higher preference, and the
governing body will have to admit children rank-ordered further down the list.

On no account should governors indicate formally or informally to parents how
applications have been rank-ordered. They should not communicate any information
regarding places or ranking before parents are informed on ‘National Offer Day’.

Appeals

If a child is refused a place at a school, parents have the right of appeal. It is the
responsibility of the governing body to establish an appeal panel. The Schools’
Admissions Appeals Code of Practice must be followed. The membership of the
panel must be independent from the school’s governing body as well as from the local
authority which maintains the school. The decision of the appeal panel is binding.

Admissions Forums

All local authorities must have an Admission Forum, of which the membership
includes voluntary aided schools and the Diocese. The Forum provides a platform to
discuss the effectiveness of the local arrangements, advise admissions authorities on
how arrangements can be improved and provide a service for local parents and
children. It is responsible for seeking to promote agreements to ensure that vulnerable
and hard to place children are provided for within the admission arrangements.
Admissions authorities, including governing bodies of voluntary aided schools, must
have regard to any advice or agreed views provided by the Admissions Forum.

Diocesan Guidelines for Voluntary Aided Schools

The Diocese is committed to the principle that as many Catholic children as possible
should be able to take advantage of education offered in our Catholic schools. The
Archbishop requires all Catholic voluntary aided schools to give priority to Catholic


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                               30
applicants. In drawing up the over-subscription criteria, first priority should be given
to Catholic looked after children or looked after children in Catholic families, and
second priority should be given to baptised Catholic children or children enrolled in
the catechumenate. Looked after children are normally in the care of the local
authority or provided with accommodation by it. The local authority maintains a
register of all looked after children in its area. Governors should be aware that not all
children living away from their parents are ‘looked after’. Baptised Catholic children
are those who have been baptised in a Roman Catholic Church or Oriental Rite
Church in communion with the See of Rome.

Please refer to the Diocesan Guidance on Admissions on the web site of the
Commission for Schools and Colleges.

Exclusions

All governing bodies should have a behaviour policy that clearly states the importance
given to good behaviour, how this will be achieved and the support mechanisms
which are in place for students whose behaviour is unacceptable. In a Catholic
school, the principles of justice and reconciliation must guide these issues. Exclusion,
even for a fixed term, should be seen as a last resort, when reconciliation cannot
immediately be effected and the presence of the pupil in the school would be
detrimental to the education and welfare of the other pupils or the pupil himself or
herself. There are very rare occasions when a headteacher may permanently exclude
for a first or one-off offence, such as actual or threatened violence, sexual abuse or
assault, supplying illegal drugs or carrying an offensive weapon.

Although governing bodies agree the behaviour policy, it is the headteacher’s duty to
establish discipline procedures to achieve its aims. Only the headteacher can exclude
a student and has the authority to exclude for one or more fixed periods up to a total
of 45 school days in any one school year, or permanently. All exclusions, including
lunch times, must be notified to the parent or carer as soon as possible, giving reasons
for the exclusion and the days it will take effect. The parent must also be informed
about how they may make representations against the headteacher’s decision.

The headteacher must inform the local authority and governing body of an exclusion
if it is permanent, fixed term converting to permanent, fixed term leading to more than
five school days in one term, or if it results in a pupil missing a public examination.
The Pupil Discipline Committee will meet to consider the headteacher’s decision on
these exclusions and must consider the circumstances, any representation by the
parent and/or local authority, and whether or when the pupil should be reinstated.

Governors should be aware that a large number of exclusions have been challenged
successfully on the grounds that they are unlawful. The most common feature in this
is where a member of staff (not acting as headteacher) has sent pupils home, where a
headteacher has asked a parent to keep a pupil at home for a day or more or where
pupils have been sent home and asked not to return to school until parents have made
an appointment. Governors should understand that although actions on exclusion are
taken by the headteacher or other staff, it is the governors who are responsible.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 31
                                     Section 7
                                    Curriculum

The curriculum is all the teaching and learning that takes place on or off the school
site, either planned or unplanned. It is the ‘business’ of the school. The curriculum
content, the assessment of and for learning, the planning and the delivery are the
responsibility of the headteacher and teaching staff assisted by the support staff.

The role of the governors

Governors are required by law to ensure the delivery of the curriculum in accordance
with legal requirements, the Trust Deed of the Diocese or religious institute, and
Canon Law. ‘The curriculum in all its aspects must reflect the fact that Christ is the
foundation of the whole educational enterprise in a Catholic school.’ (The Catholic
School, Congregation for Catholic Education, 1977.) The CES document, Evaluating
the Distinctive Nature of a Catholic School (1999), contains a number of working
papers which may help governors in fulfilling these responsibilities.

As the CES guidance points out, it is often unhelpful to distinguish the ‘religious’
curriculum from the ‘secular’ curriculum in the Catholic school. ‘The curriculum as a
whole, and every part of it, is religious, since everything ultimately relates to God’. It
is essential that all governors in Catholic schools in the Diocese know and keep up to
date with the current teaching of the Church. They will then be able to understand
how best to ensure the entitlement for all pupils to receive a Catholic education which
embraces the national curriculum, including personal, social and emotional
development and spiritual and moral education, as well as Catholic religious
education. They will also need to carry out their related responsibilities for
assessment, target setting and reporting in the light of that teaching.

Inclusion

The curriculum in a Catholic school should be planned in such a way as to ensure that
all pupils, whatever their abilities, home backgrounds and dispositions, can achieve
the highest possible standards. ‘Those who are in charge of catholic schools are to
ensure, under the supervision of the local Ordinary, that the formation given in them
is, in its academic standards, at least as outstanding as that in other schools in the
area.’ (Canon 806 para.2)

Governors will ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop their potential.
A named governor will have responsibility for overseeing the school’s provision for
children with Special Educational Needs. It will be good practice to interpret this role
broadly to include all children vulnerable to underachievement, not only those with
Statements. This may also include children who are gifted and talented.

The Inclusion statement in the introduction to the national curriculum (DfES 2000)
very clearly sets out the principles for inclusion in all maintained schools and how this
will be achieved. The principles are a statutory and integral part of the national
curriculum and must be followed.


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                  32
Children who are vulnerable to social, emotional and behavioural difficulties may
present a particular challenge. There are a range of learning, teaching and
organisational strategies to provide for their special needs and to help the school to
cope with the difficulties such children may present. Nurture Groups, especially, have
an approach which is in keeping with Christian values and are recommended good
practice. There is expertise available from the Commission to support schools which
wish to adopt this approach. See also www.nurturegroups.org. Governors will need to
allocate sufficient financial resources to ensure that there is adequate support for the
range of special needs in the school.

Religious education

In a Catholic school, religious education must be according to the teachings and
practices of the Catholic Church; this position is safeguarded in the School Standards
and Framework Act (1998). The Catechism of the Universal Church and the Bishops’
Conference Religious Education Curriculum Directory for Catholic Schools provide
the context for religious education. The Diocesan advisers for primary and secondary
schools give advice on the religious education curriculum, including assessment.

Curriculum religious education is a core subject in Catholic schools and an academic
discipline with demands and rigour comparable to other curriculum subjects. The
Archbishop expects schools to comply with the expectation of the Bishops’
Conference that it will be given 10% of curriculum time (excluding Masses, other
liturgies, assemblies and hymn practice). The appointment of leaders for religious
education requires special care to ensure that religious education is properly managed
and taught (see section 7, Staffing).

Religious growth and development, which are the aims of religious education, are not
confined to time-tabled religious education lessons but are also addressed through the
whole curriculum. The spiritual and moral development of pupils will be supported
through all curriculum areas. Pupils will also be influenced by the way in which the
learning, teaching and assessment are carried out and by the attitudes and behaviour
of pupils and staff to one another, their property and the school environment. Social
and cultural development, too, will be supported by the social teaching of the Church,
and pupils will be enabled to appreciate and value the Church’s cultural breadth and
universality.

Sex and relationship education

English law requires governors of all schools to have a policy for sex education. The
Church requires that this teaching will be within a programme of education for
personal relationships, both in primary schools where governors decide to provide it,
and in all secondary schools to complement the teaching required by the national
curriculum.

The Southwark Diocesan policy on Education in Human Love, approved by the
Archbishop, is available on the web site of the Commission for Schools and Colleges.
The schools advisers provide training on the implementation of this policy.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                33
                                     Section 8
                                     Staffing

The governing body as the employer

The governing body is the employer of the headteacher and staff in a voluntary aided
school. Regulations and guidance set out the main staffing functions of the governing
body. They provide for the appointment of staff, the regulation of staff conduct and
discipline, suspension, dismissal, and the role of the governing body and the
headteacher. (See Chapter 9 of the Guide to the Law for School Governors for more
details.) There are additional requirements, from the Catholic Church nationally and
from the Diocese, which apply to all Catholic voluntary aided schools.

The Catholic Education Service (CES) has published the Memorandum on the
Appointment of Teachers to Catholic Schools from the Department for Catholic
Education and Formation of the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales, which
can be accessed on the CES website www.cesew.org.uk. This has been agreed by all
the Bishops of England and Wales. This gives guidance to governors in fulfilling
both their statutory duties and their responsibility for preserving and developing the
Catholic character of the school. It applies particularly to the appointment of teachers,
but it may also help governors in relation to other aspects of their responsibilities as
employers.

The governors have overall responsibility for staffing matters at their school,
including deciding the number of teaching and support staff, and they will fulfil this in
a way which is consistent with the Catholic character of the school. As in all aspects
of governors’ responsibilities, this will be done in partnership with the headteacher.
Governors may delegate many of the staffing functions to the headteacher, or to an
individual governor or governors working with the headteacher.

Appointments

The appointment of staff is governors’ most important responsibility. It is through the
personal living out of their faith and commitment and their ability to communicate
this to others, especially to the young, that the staff will ensure the school’s Catholic
character and witness. The words of Pope Paul VI remain a guiding principle:
‘Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen
to teachers, it is because they are witnesses’ (cf Evangelii Nuntiandi, sec.41).
Governors of Catholic voluntary aided schools have extra rights with respect to
employing, appointing or dismissing teachers; they may give preference to practising
Catholics (see Guide to the Law 9.18). It is recommended that the governing body
has a recruitment policy which clearly states who appoints at different levels.

The governing body cannot delegate the responsibility for appointing headteachers or
deputy headteachers. Governors will agree on the membership of a selection panel, of
whom the majority should be foundation governors. This panel’s recommendation to
appoint a particular candidate must be ratified by the whole governing body.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 34
A vacancy for a headteacher or deputy headteacher must be advertised where it will
attract most attention. This is understood to mean national advertisement. When a
teaching vacancy occurs and the governors decide to fill the post they should draw up
a specification and advertise it, unless it is intended to appoint a person already
working in the school. All teachers, including those who are newly qualified, must
have a recognised qualification and be registered with the General Teaching Council
(GTC).

CES application forms should be used for all posts and are available as PDF files to
download from the CES website.

Interview procedures must be clear, objective, transparent and open to scrutiny.
Governing bodies should agree advisory rights for the Diocesan Director of Education
and the chief education officer of the local authority. This may apply to all
appointments or, more usually, just to the appointment of headteachers and deputy
headteachers. Whatever advisory rights the governors confer must be the same for
both the Diocese and the local authority.

The governing body or headteacher must check with the local authority that any
person they wish to appoint meets the appropriate professional and health criteria.
Crucially, no person should be employed until checks of suitability for working with
children have been made, as contained in Child Protection: Preventing Unsuitable
People from Working with Children and Young Persons in the Education Service
(DfES 0278/2002). (See Handbook for Governors 9.47.)

While employees should, as far as possible, be committed Catholics who fully support
Catholic education, the Diocese recognises the contribution that teachers of other
Christian Churches, other faiths and other teachers generally make to support the
Catholic ethos of many schools in the Diocese.

Governors should ensure that an appropriate induction programme emphasising the
distinctive nature of Catholic education is in place and that continuing professional
development is available to help to sustain and develop it. Staff from the Commission
for Schools and Colleges can provide support.

Appointment of a headteacher or deputy headteacher

The Diocese provides detailed guidance to governors on appointments to these senior
posts. This is available in written form and on-line in a pack entitled Guidance to
Governing Bodies on the Appointment of a Headteacher (or Deputy Headteacher) to a
Voluntary Aided Primary (or Secondary) School. The guidance is updated annually.

The Archbishop is entitled to be represented at all appointments to senior posts in
Catholic schools in the Diocese. As soon as governors are informed of an impending
resignation from one of these senior posts, they should notify the Director of
Education, at the Commission for Schools and Colleges, to whom the Archbishop has
delegated this responsibility, by telephone or in writing. The information will be
registered and the guidance sent. Governors may choose to download the guidance
from the Commission web site but they must still inform the Commission of the
resignation. The pack consists of the Diocesan Statement on The Headteacher and


Handbook for Governors September 2006                                             35
Principal in the Catholic School and College, with eight short papers advising on the
selection process, including job and person specifications, and some model interview
questions. CES application forms only must be used as these include questions on
religion and references in a form agreed with the main teaching unions.

It is expected that governors will follow the guidance rigorously in order to ensure
that the very best appointments are made in line with the Archbishop’s wishes. The
Archbishop will be represented by a representative from the Commission for Schools
and Colleges at interviews for headship. It is not normally possible for officers to
attend interviews for deputy headteachers unless there is a particular reason for doing
so. A headteacher or Chair of governors may wish to discuss this with a member of
the Commission staff. A draft outline of the proposed timetable for the appointment,
with alternatives, should be forwarded to the Commission before the post is
advertised, in order to ensure the availability of an officer to represent the Archbishop
on the preferred dates. The Commission team covers fourteen local authorities and has
far fewer staff than any of them, so it is essential that the date is not set in discussion
with the local authority before the availability of a representative for the Archbishop
is confirmed.

Once the post has been advertised, a named officer from the Commission will liaise
with the Chair of governors or his/her representative regarding procedure, including
shortlisting. Copies of application forms received should be forwarded to the Schools’
Commission for the attention of the officer concerned. Shortlisting advice is normally
provided by telephone for headteacher appointments. It may be requested by the chair
of governors for deputy headships.

Leaders for religious education

Governors have particular responsibility to ensure that religious education is properly
managed and taught. Religious education coordinators in primary schools and heads
of religious education in secondary schools should have equivalent status and
remuneration with other core subject leaders. Advice may be sought from the
Commission with regard to the appointment of suitably qualified and experienced
teachers. A member of the Commission team will advise on the appointment process
for heads of religious education in secondary schools, and the Commission should be
notified when schools are seeking to make such appointments.

Support staff

The interviewing and appointment of support staff posts at all levels is normally
delegated to the headteacher, with a governor representative joining the headteacher if
this is desired. The local authority must be consulted and is entitled to make
representations about the grade and remuneration of support staff.

Increasingly, support staff are taking on wider responsibilities in relation to pupils in
posts such as Higher Level Teaching Assistants, and there is a need for governors to
provide clear guidelines for all staff about the Catholic character of education and the
Catholic life of the school.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                   36
Contracts

Only CES contracts should be issued as these take account of the responsibility of the
governing body as employer. It is the responsibility of the governing body to issue
the appropriate contracts of employment and associated CES documentation.

Staff discipline, capability, grievance, absence

It is the responsibility of the governing body to adopt appropriate policies and
procedures for staff discipline, grievance, absence (sickness) and capability. This
should be done at a full governing body meeting and minuted. The CES has model
procedures for each of these areas which are available on the Commission’s web site.
Governors should use these, not the procedures of the local authority, as the CES
models take account of the governors’ role as employer.

Developing a staffing structure

Governors have considerable flexibility to determine a staffing structure which will
meet the needs of their school and support the school improvement plan, as well as
using the skills and expertise of staff to best effect. The professional development of
staff through the allocation of responsibilities should include opportunities for
developing leaders for the future. Planning for succession and for future leadership
within the school, rather than looking outside the school for every appointment, is
now recognised good practice. Governors may wish to agree a staffing structure
which enables newly qualified staff to work alongside subject coordinators, team
leaders or phase managers to gain experience.

The staffing structure will include the allocation of Teaching and Learning
Responsibility (TLR) allowances for senior staff to manage broad areas of school
organisation focusing on support for teaching and learning and on the outcomes of
‘Every Child Matters’.

Newly appointed headteachers must be supported by governors in undertaking the
Headteacher Induction Programme. Aspiring headteachers will need the opportunity
to acquire the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). In addition,
deputy headteachers and other senior leaders should have opportunities for continuing
professional development within the school, for example in relation to financial
management or governance.

Continuing professional development is offered by the Diocese for leadership posts
and it is expected that governors will encourage aspiring leaders to participate in this.

Job descriptions

Governors should aim to have a strategic view of the entire workforce in order to
ensure the highest possible standards are being achieved. Staff job descriptions will
set out how this works in practice and each individual member of staff’s duties and
responsibilities in relation to standards will be clearly identified, understood and
agreed. The school’s mission statement should be included as a point of reference.



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                 37
The school improvement plan, which will address the ongoing development of
religious education and the Catholic character and ethos as well as the requirement to
raise academic standards, is the driving force behind the staffing structure. The
purpose of Catholic schools is to carry out the mission of the Church in education, not
simply to provide employment.

Pay and conditions of service

Teachers’ pay structure is fixed by law. Governors must have a clear pay policy
which has been discussed with staff. Governing bodies of all maintained schools,
including voluntary aided Catholic schools, must review the pay of all teachers
annually. They are required to work within the provisions of the annual Teachers’
Pay and Conditions Document. Teachers are subject to statutory conditions relating
to their professional duties and working time, as set out in the Teachers’ Pay and
Conditions Document. These are part of their contracts of service.

There may be local and national agreements relevant to the duties and working time
of some support staff.

Performance management

Governors must have a policy for performance management and this should be made
available to all teachers in the school. The regulations governing performance
management in maintained schools apply to Catholic voluntary aided schools. The
regulations are currently being revised and new guidance will be issued. Targets for
all teaching staff, including the headteacher, should include an aspect of the Catholic
ethos of the school.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                               38
                                Section 9
                     Control and Use of the Premises

Ownership of the premises

The land and buildings of schools and colleges in the Diocese are, in most cases,
owned either by the trustees of the Diocese or by the trustees of a religious institute.
The role of the governing body of a voluntary aided Catholic school is that of
occupier, that is, it manages the land and premises on behalf of the Diocese or the
religious institute. Education Law provides for governors to meet costs, which would
normally fall to the trustees, relating to the premises and land, while these are in
educational use. The governors are responsible to the trustees for the maintenance of
the fabric of the buildings and must obtain their agreement, through the Commission
for Schools and Colleges, prior to altering or extending them. Changes relating to the
land, such as leasing, letting, acquiring new land, and erection of mobile phone masts,
require permission from Canon Martin Lee, to whom the trustees delegate this.

Governors’ financial responsibilities

The Diocese organises regular briefing sessions on the implications for governors in
meeting their responsibilities for school premises, which are subject to frequent
changes in legislation. Governors are responsible for improvements and repairs to all
existing buildings, both internal and external, including kitchens, dining areas,
medical rooms and premises officers’ houses; improvements and repairs to walls and
fences; improvements and repairs to playgrounds; and furniture and fittings.

Insurance

Voluntary aided Catholic schools are maintained by the local authority. Local
authorities have the duty of meeting the cost of insurance, including the cost of cover
for the governing body’s effective 10% liability for capital building costs (that is net
of the DfES 90% grant). Governors must use these delegated funds to purchase the
Diocesan insurance set up to cover the 10% liability and cash flow cover, as well as
insurance for all other needs. Governors should check their local authority
arrangements for delegating funds for insurance as well as discussing with Canon Lee,
the Diocesan Finance Officer, any queries they have about the Diocesan insurance.
At present, the insurance arrangements are being reviewed by the Diocese in
conjunction with its legal advisers.

Health and safety

As the employer, the governing body of a voluntary aided Catholic school is
responsible for the health and safety of pupils, staff and visitors. It must ensure, as far
as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of pupils. This implies that the
school buildings and fabric are kept in a good state of repair at all times.

The governing body must have a health and safety policy and clear arrangements for
its implementation. The key elements of a health and safety policy are listed in



Handbook for Governors September 2006                                                   39
Health and Safety; Responsibilities and Powers (DfES 2001). Governors must assess
the risks of all activities, introduce measures to manage the risks and tell their
employees about the measures.

Governors must provide health and safety guidance and ensure that members of staff
who are delegated tasks, such as risk assessment, carry them out. There must be
arrangements in place to monitor the implementation of the policy. The local
authority has no responsibility or power to intervene except where safety, but not
health, is threatened, for example in the event of a breakdown in discipline.

Lettings policy: out of hours use

In most cases the governing body has control of the school premises both during and
outside school hours, although there may be exceptions for individual schools.
Governing bodies are expected to be sympathetic to the needs of the local community
when deciding out of hours use, but they must balance these against their legal
responsibilities for financial management, Health and Safety and the Disability
Discrimination Act (1995).

Governing bodies may not use their delegated budget to subsidise non-school
activities, although they may set different charges for different organisations’ use.
There is often a fine line between parish, school and non-school activities and
governors may need to negotiate sensitively with the parish priest and parishioners to
ensure mutual understanding and goodwill.

Governors should refer to local authority guidance and direction where appropriate.
They should have a lettings policy which clearly states the arrangements for hire of
the premises by different groups, the scale of charges and any particular directions
with regard to use.

Candidates in Parliamentary and local elections have rights to use school rooms for
public meetings when they are not being used for educational purposes or they are not
in use under a lettings agreement. The Returning Officer (the person responsible for
organizing the election) may use school rooms at any time for an election. See A
Guide to the Law for School Governors 2006 for further information.

Extended Schools

An extended school is one that works with other local providers, including other local
schools, to provide access for families to a range of services. They are intended to
assist in achieving the outcomes of Every Child Matters. More information may be
obtained from extended.schools@dfes.gsi.gov.uk

The Diocese supports the aims of extended school provision. Governors should
nevertheless carefully evaluate any commitment which would increase their own and
the school’s workload, particularly that of the headteacher. In addition, maintaining
the Catholic character of the school is paramount and some external providers may
not understand or share that commitment.




Handbook for Governors September 2006                                              40

				
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