School governors

The role of school governors has been gradually extended by successive Education Acts from 1870 onwards. As state schools are funded by the tax-payers, the idea is to have some public involvement in their running. This is not always met with enthusiasm by the teaching staff, but the duties required of governors are sufficiently demanding as to only attract the most committed, skilled and team-minded volunteers.

A school can have between nine and twenty governors. The headteacher is automatically on the board of governors. The other types of governor are staff, local authority, co-opted (usually with business expertise of some sort), possibly foundation (from a sponsoring company, if any) and parent. Each has a term of four years, which may be renewed.

Governors must attend training. They must also become members of committees dealing with particular aspects, such as finance, curriculum and building maintenance. They meet with the OfSTED inspectors, sit on staff interview panels, deal with disciplinary and safeguarding matters and write school policies and an annual report. Their role is described as being a “critical friend” to the headteacher. Perhaps that is why they are not paid!


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