1.1 Working in a team as a governor
Governing bodies consist of individual governors who draw upon their own knowledge, experience and motivations. Governors are drawn from different organisations and may have been elected to the governing body or appointed. Within the governing body there is also a subset of teams created for particular purposes: these could be statutory committees, or committees that meet the particular needs of an individual school. Governing body committees can cover areas such personnel and finance, attainment, admissions, wellbeing and welfare, site, curriculum, or strategy.
Activity 1 asks you to think about the attributes and actions expected of school governors and what these may have in common.
Activity 1: Governors and team working
Look at the list below. Which attributes and actions would be expected of you as a governor? Can you identify a common theme in the attributes and actions you have chosen?
The statements are adapted from A Handbook for Governors of Schools in Wales (Governors Cymru Services, 2018) and form part of the Principles of Conduct for Governors in Schools in Wales. More information can be found on the Governors Cymru Services website.
Each statement is applicable to the role of a governor, and illustrates that, as a governor, team working plays an important role in your work. You make your contribution by working with other governors, staff, parents and carers, and pupils. This is done by:
- setting the aims and objectives for the school
- agreeing policies, targets and priorities for achieving these objectives
- carrying out monitoring and evaluating to see whether those aims, objectives and priorities are being achieved.
Each governing body will carry out its role in a manner best suited to the needs of the individual school and its pupils. However, governing bodies share some things in common, such as:
- the need to create statutory committees and statutory policies
- legal responsibilities
- appointing a clerk to the governing body
- taking advice from the Headteacher before making decisions.
Your work as a governor is generally undertaken in teams and in working with others. Although some of the statements above related to you as an individual, in order to achieve them you need to work with others.
Before moving onto the next section, which considers team roles, take a few moments to reflect on the governing body you are a member of.
Activity 2: Your governing body
Take a few moments to reflect on the governing body you are a member of and consider the following questions:
- What structure has the governing body adopted?
- What committees am I involved with?
- What is the remit of those committees?
- What training have I attended and with whom?
- What ‘type’ of governor am I?
- Examples include parent governor, teacher governor, staff governor, LA governor, headteacher as a governor, community governor, additional community governor, representative governor, foundation governor, associate pupil governor, partnership governor or sponsor governor.
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Each governing body has a structure that reflects the needs to the school community it represents. There are, however, some statutory requirements that governing bodies must meet, both in terms of committees and policies, including:
- a staff disciplinary and dismissal committee
- a staff disciplinary and dismissal appeals committee
- a pupil discipline and exclusions committee
- a Headteacher and Deputy Head selection panel
- Headteacher Performance Management Appraisers and Appeal Appraiser(s)
- pay review and pay review appeals
- grievance and grievance appeals
- capability and capability appeals
- complaints procedures.
Each governing body committee will have a reference document setting out its powers and duties, its place in the reporting structure, minimum number of governors. This must be reviewed annually.
Having reflected on your own governing body and your work as a governor, the next section considers team roles.