The importance of a well trained and skilled Governing Board


The importance of a well trained and skilled Governing Board

A school governor is an individual who is committed to contributing to the educational wellbeing of children.  Their role requires dedication, including regular attendance at governing body meetings and active participation in school affairs, such as visits to school and attendance at school events.

Governors come from various backgrounds and bring a range of skills and perspectives to the role.  They can include parents, staff members, members of the local communication and representatives from local authorities, trusts and in the case of church schools, the local priest.  The primary purpose of a school governor is to act as a critical friend to the school, providing support and challenge to ensure the best possible outcomes for all students.  They should have a strong interest in education and commitment to improving the school environment, educational standards and the overall wellbeing of pupils and staff.  Each type of governor brings a unique perspective and contribution.  For instance, parent governors provide insight into the parent community, staff governors offer operational knowledge about daily activities within school and local authority governors connect the school to broader municipal governance.

Being a school governor is a vital role that contributes to the effective functioning of schools and academies. Whether a parent, community member, or professional, serving as a school governor allows the individual to make a positive impact on students' lives.

The board of governors should operate at a strategic level, leaving the head teacher and senior school leaders responsible and accountable for the operational day-to-day running of the school. 

A clear understanding of, and distinction between, the role of the board and the headteacher is crucial to effective governance. The regulations make clear that the headteacher is responsible for the educational performance of the school and for the internal organisation, management and control of the school, which includes the performance management of staff. 

The board should avoid its time being consumed with issues of secondary importance, and focus strongly on three core functions: 

  • Setting the vision and strategic direction of school; 

  • Holding the headteacher to account for its educational performance; and 

  • Ensuring financial resources are well spent. 

A well skilled governing board will not only be able to discharge its duties effectively but will understand the importance of providing a suitable level of challenge.

Governors need a robust process and framework for setting priorities, creating accountability and an effective monitoring progress.  As explained in the Governors’ Handbook, governors should not just rely on information provided by the headteacher. Rather, they should scrutinise objective national data (at least once a year); use visits to verify what they are told; and ensure the headteacher’s termly report provides appropriate and sufficiently detailed information.

The regulations allow the board, should it so wish, to delegate most of its functions to committees or individuals. However it chooses to exercise its functions, the board always acts as a ‘body corporate’ and remains accountable at the board level in law and to Ofsted for the performance of all its duties and functions.  This is why committees and individuals must report back to the full board on any activities they have carried out on its behalf. 

Where the board delegates any of its functions, it should ensure that the committee comprises, or the individual has, the necessary skills to carry out those functions, particularly where financial information or performance data are being considered.

Although governors are volunteers, they have a vital and demanding role that requires skill and professionalism.

How can Capita Entrust help

Our governor support and development SLA, will support your school and academy governors/trustees in their vital role by providing access to high quality training, mentoring, and advice and guidance from our team of governance experts. Our team of professionals will be on hand to help your board identify training needs through an analysis of its skills audit. They will also be available to answer governors’ questions and support the board with any issues that arise. 

This SLA includes:

  • 8 credits to attend live webinars from our extensive training programme and a reduced price on any additional places.

  • Termly Chair and Vice Chair’s briefings.

  • Termly Clerk’s briefing.

  • The termly Governor Information Pack. This comprehensive document contains updates, links and appendices of sample materials, all in one place.

  • Email advice and guidance from experienced Governance professionals.

  • Monthly e-newsletter.

  • Annual subscription to GovernorSpace, an online platform which provides access to: a suite of online webinars; a resource area containing useful guidance on procedures, forms and templates;  online skills audit to support annual board self-evaluation; regular thought leadership articles; and more.

Find out more 

Please contact us to learn more about how we can help your Governing Board.

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