Governors - How we Work

'Learning Together to Achieve Success'

Why do schools have Governors?

The Governing Body of a school is responsible and accountable for all the major decisions about the school and its future.  We have a legal responsibility to make sure the school promotes high standards of educational achievement.  We are responsible for appointing and reviewing the performance of the Headteacher, and are usually involved in other staff appointments.

What do the Governors do?

Together with our Headteacher, we set the future direction for the school, decide how the school’s budget should be spent and monitor and evaluate the school’s performance.  In doing this we make decisions on things such as performance targets, school policies, staffing, and the school’s development plan.  We provide the Headteacher with support and advice, drawing on our knowledge and experience from outside school.  We ask searching questions whilst respecting her position as professional leader of the school - this is often compared to acting as a ‘critical friend’.

How do we operate?

The Governing Body recognises that it is a critical part of the Leadership and Management of the school.  As a whole, and within sub-committee it operates as a professional body, in accordance with the policies and guidelines defined in its Governor Handbook and with regard to the current Governors Guide to the Law.  Each Governor has signed up to and undertakes their duties in accordance with our Governor Code of Conduct.

Who can be a Governor?

Anyone over 18 with an interest in education can be a Governor.  We are all volunteers who spend about six hours each month attending meetings and working to further the school’s development.  Our Governing Body is drawn from the school’s community and includes parents; school staff; representatives of the Local Education Authority and community governors plus Associate members.

Parent Governors

Parents (including carers) of registered pupils at the school (including the nursery) are eligible to stand for election for parent governorship at the school.  ‘Parent’ is defined as including ‘any individual who has or has had parental responsibility for, or cares or has cared for, a child or young person under the age of 18’.  It includes a person who the child lives with and who looks after the child, irrespective of what their relationship is with the child, and must be someone involved in the full-time care of the child on a settled basis.

Parent governors are elected by other parents at the school.  If insufficient parents stand for election, the governing body can appoint parent governors. 4

PDF file Parent Governor Information(199KB)

Staff Governors

Both teaching and support staff paid to work at the school are eligible for staff governorship.  Staff governors are elected by the school staff and must be paid to work at the school – volunteers are ineligible. Any election that is contested must be held by ballot.

Local Education Authority Governors

Authority governors are appointed by the LA.  LAs can appoint any eligible person as an authority governor.  A person is disqualified from appointment as an authority governor if they are eligible to be a Staff governor of the school.

Community Governors

Community governors are appointed by the Governing Body to represent community interests. Community governors can be people who live or work in the community served by the school, or people who do not work or live close to the school but are committed to the good governance and success of the school.

Associate Members

The Governing Body can appoint associate members to serve on one or more Governing Body committees and attend Full Governing Body meetings.  The definition of Associate member is wide and pupils, school staff and people who want to contribute specifically on issues related to their area of expertise (for instance, Finance, HR and PR) can be appointed as Associate members.  Associate members are appointed as members of any committees established by the Governing body.  They are appointed for a period of between one and four years and can be reappointed at the end of their term of office.

Associate members are not Governors and do not have the statutory duties and responsibilities of a Governor.  If you feel that you have some expertise that would be of value to the School and Governing Body, but cannot commit to being a full Governor this could be your way to become involved.  Similarly, if you think you might like to become a Governor in the future this could be a way to ‘dip your toe in the water’.  We are always keen to welcome new people to the team, so, if you feel this role may be for you please contact the Governors or the Headteacher in the first instance.

How often do Governors meet?

There is a full governors meeting every term, and our committees meet separately every half term to look at specific areas such as Finance, Curriculum and Buildings.  The minutes of the meetings are available, on request from the School office.  Core Subject Governors visit the school termly on a planned basis and liaise with the relevant Subject Leader concerning the planning, implementation and assessment of that subject, in accordance with the School Development Plan.  Class Governors visit the school at least once a term to spend time in the classrooms to see the school ‘in action’ and to engage with the children and staff.  In addition the Chair and Headteacher will normally meet every two weeks or so to discuss and monitor school issues.  Additionally the Chair and/or Vice Chair attend termly Senior Leadership Team meetings.

How do you contact the Governors?

We can be contacted directly by email, or through the School Office.  Our email address is governors@littlehadham.herts.sch.uk.  Alternatively, the school office will pass on any messages or letters.  It is also normally possible to book an appointment to talk to a Governor at Parent Consultation Evenings.

When should you contact the Governors rather than the Headteacher?

Whilst we are always happy to hear from and talk with parents, the Headteacher is responsible for the day to day running of the school, so initially most queries and specific issues should be addressed to the Headteacher.  Because we have a specific responsibility for reviewing complaints and exclusions it is sometimes important that we should not involved in the first instance.

For example, if you had concerns about a specific behaviour incident at the school then you should discuss it first with the Headteacher.  If that failed to resolve the issue, or you were concerned about the general approach to behaviour management, then that would need to be discussed by the Governors and you should contact us.

In most cases the way we want the school to operate is set out in the various policies (such as the behaviour policy, uniform policy, complaints policy, etc) which we review on an annual or bi-annual basis.  A copy of current policies can be made available on request through the school office.  Statutory ones (Behaviour, Charging and SEND) are already available on the web site.

If you feel that a policy is not being followed, or it is unclear, or even simply not effective, then that should be brought to our attention.  If in doubt then please feel free to contact either the Governors or the Headteacher, and if necessary we will point you in the appropriate direction.

The Governors and Staff are all committed to making Little Hadham School the best possible learning and development environment for the children and are always happy to answer any additional questions you may have.