School governors

Page updated on: 17/05/2021

Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education for all pupils.

Each school has a governing body which comprises members of the local community, parents, teachers, staff and representatives of the Local Authority.  Governing Bodies of Church Schools (Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled) are also represented by the church authority

When vacancies arise for parent governors, information is circulated via "pupil post" and to be eligible to be nominated as a parent governor, you must have a child registered at the school for which the Governing Body is responsible. The term of office for governors is for four years and as a parent governor you can, choose, to serve the full term of office even if your child is no longer a pupil at that school.

Governing Bodies are required by law to meet at least once a term but can meet more frequently in order to discuss specific matters. All governors are required to undertake mandatory training.

Every school has its own governing body which is responsible for the overall management of the school. The actual size of the governing body depends on the size of the school; the membership is determined by law, and each governing body is made up of different types of governors. They may include some or all of the following:

  • Parent Governors - elected by the parents of children currently attending the school. Such governors must have a child at the school at the time of the election.
  • Teacher Governors - members of the school's teaching staff, elected by the teachers.
  • Staff Governors - members of the school’s non-teaching staff, elected by the non-teaching staff.
  • Local Authority Governors - appointed by the Local Authority. Typically, these governors possess a specific and useful skill, professional background or are known for their community work and interest in education.
  • Headteacher - may choose to be a governor or opt to remain independent. Whichever is the case, the head teacher has the right to attend all meetings of the governing body.
  • Community Governors - appointed by the governing body, these governors may possess particular skills or come from a specific group within society such as the business community. An Additional Community Governor representing the community council is included on primary schools governing bodies.
  • Foundation Governors - members of the governing bodies of voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools. They ensure that the school preserves its particular religious character or that it is conducted in accordance with the terms of a trust deed.
  • Associate Pupil Governors - nominated by the School Council from its members from Years 11, 12 or 13 in secondary schools.

Schools need volunteers with a variety of life experiences. Governors have to be over 18 years of age.

Whilst you do not need qualifications to be a governor, the following are important:

  • a commitment to regularly attend meetings of the governing body and any committees to which you are appointed
  • a desire to raise the standards of education within the school
  • a willingness to share skills and expertise for the benefit of the governing body and the school

Governors are ordinary people, drawn from many areas of society. They need to be able to devote time to getting to know the school well and to be active and available in their support for it. Having common sense and a desire to serve the community are also important.

Normally no one may be a governor of more than two governing bodies.

In one or all of these ways:-

 

  • Primary: Ages 3 - 11 years.
  • Secondary: Ages 11 - 16 years or 11 - 18 years.
  • Special: Schools for pupils with special educational needs.
  • Voluntary: Some schools have been founded by the Church or educational trust and are described as Voluntary Aided or Voluntary Controlled, usually but not always linked to the Church in Wales or the Roman Catholic Church.

Induction Training

All newly appointed or elected governors, except headteachers, must attend this training within one year of their appointment or election.

Governors who do not attend this training within the specified period are automatically suspended. If the governors do not complete the training within a six-month suspension period they are automatically disqualified from continuing in office as a governor.

Induction training for governors is vital if they are to understand their role and the parameters of their responsibilities.

The induction training will help ensure that new governors:

  • Have the necessary knowledge and understanding to begin to fulfil their role effectively as a governor and to support their school in raising standards;
  • Are aware of national and local education issues and their impact on governing bodies;
  • Recognise the importance of training and the need to develop their skills and take advantage of other opportunities available to them;
  • Develop confidence to enable them to take a full and active part in the role of the governing body.

The training will also reflect the legislative framework for school governance in Wales and will focus on what should be expected from governors in meeting the requirements of the law and raising standards and school improvement. It will also explain a governor’s strategic role and how this supports and challenges the work of the school and the senior leadership team; their role in setting policies and targets and how these should be monitored and evaluated and how and to whom governors are accountable.


Understanding data

Governors must understand that governing bodies have a role to play with regards to both improvement and accountability. As part of self-evaluation and improvement, through an understanding of data and other information about their school, they should agree aims and objectives for the school to be delivered through its school improvement plan.

Governors should understand that:

  • the intelligent use of data is an integral part of self-evaluation, and in all schools, this should extend further than learner or school performance data alone to include the full range of both qualitative and quantitative data available. The broadest range of data must be considered in order to inform and support a school’s ongoing improvement journey in all aspects of a school’s operation
  • the school system in Wales is data rich, extending at a local level far beyond any nationally consistent data provided by the Welsh Government to all schools. Once appropriately analysed, this provides information that should be used effectively to inform their improvement journeys.

Training for Chairs of Governors

The mandatory Training for Chairs will reflect the current legislative framework for school governors in Wales and will clearly define what is expected from a Chair of governors, including providing a clear lead in organising the work of the governing body; focusing governing body discussions on their strategic role and their role in raising school performance; and acting as critical friend.

Specifically, the training will:

  • Provide Chairs with the knowledge and understanding required to fulfil their role effectively to support school improvement, raise standards of performance; ensure pupils’ wellbeing and improve the quality of education being provided
  • Develop and enhance their understanding of the role of an effective Chair in leading the governing body;
  • Enhance their confidence and leadership skills and their ability to develop effective relationships with the head teacher enabling them to offer challenge and support to the school
  • Provide them with an awareness of national and local educational issues and their impact on governing bodies and help them to recognise the importance of training and the need to develop their skills and those of the wider governing body and take advantage of other training opportunities available to them.

Aspiring Chairs of governors or vice Chairs of governors are able to complete the mandatory Chair training if they wish. If these governors become Chairs within two years of attending the training, they will not be required to attend the training again.

Education & Schools