School governors perform an essential role in the education system of Wales as part of a wider team working towards the same goal: ensuring that children in Wales are provided with an excellent education.
School governors, in effect, act as critical friends and partners to a school. Their wide-ranging work covers areas such as strategy, policy, budgeting, attainment, safeguarding, wellbeing and staffing. Although each governing body may differ, all governing bodies have set responsibilities and goals. Throughout this course, ‘school governor’ has been shortened to ‘governor’.
The powers and duties of the governing body include (Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government, 2013):
- providing a strategic view – setting the framework within which the head and staff run the school; setting the aims and objectives; agreeing policies, targets and priorities for achieving these objectives; monitoring and evaluating
- acting as a critical friend – providing support and challenge to the headteacher and staff, seeking information and clarification
- ensuring accountability – explaining the decisions and actions of the governing body to anyone who has a legitimate interest
There are many aspects to the role of governor, and all governors bring a wide range of existing skills, experience and knowledge to their role. The work of your governing body draws upon that wide range of skills and experiences. Schools and the education of children in Wales benefit greatly from the work of governors, who are, in effect, skilled and unpaid volunteers.
Governors work with each other, with school staff, parents and carers, pupils, the local community, the local authority, the regional consortia and the legislation that governs education within Wales. Teamwork therefore plays an important and essential role in developing and sustaining a successful governing body. This course provides an opportunity for you to reflect on your own team working experiences, to explore examples of team working in schools, and to reflect on leadership and the relevance of team working to your own governor experience.