Governing Body

School Governors

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Main Roles of the Governing Body

The purpose of the governing body is to help the school provide the best possible education for its learners. Its main roles are:

Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

Governing bodies are the key strategic decision-making body of every school. It is their role to set the school’s strategic framework and ensure all statutory duties are met. The governing body should ensure that the school has a medium to long-term vision for its future – which it may be helpful to articulate in a specific written vision statement. The governing body should also ensure that there is a robust strategy in place for achieving its vision. This strategy should address the fundamental questions of where we are now, where do we want to be, and how are we going to get there.

 

Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance of the staff

Governing bodies should work to support and strengthen the leadership of the headteacher, and hold them to account for the day-to-day running of the school, including the performance management of teachers. Governing bodies should play a strategic role, and avoid routine involvement in operational matters. It should focus strongly on holding the headteacher to account for exercising his/her professional judgement in these matters and all of their other duties. Effective governing bodies hold their headteacher and other senior school leaders to account for improving school performance by asking the right questions.

 

Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making its money well spent

Governing bodies are responsible for making sure their school’s money is well spent. They should do this by making sure they have at least one governor with specific skills and experience in financial matters, and by asking questions such as:

  • Are we allocating our resources in line with our strategic priorities?
  • Are we making full use of all our assets and efficient use of all our financial resources?
  • Are other schools buying things cheaper or getting better results with less spending per pupil?
  • How can we get better value for money from our budget?

Code of Conduct for the Governing Board

The governing board has adopted the following principles and procedures:

Purpose of the governing board

The governing board is the key strategic decision-making body in the school, setting the strategic framework and ensuring it meets all its statutory duties. Raising achievement is at the heart of a governing board’s strategic role; every child has the right to attend a good school.

 

The governing board has the following core strategic functions:

Establishes the strategic direction by:

  • setting the vision, values, and objectives for the school
  • agreeing the school improvement strategy with priorities and targets
  • meeting statutory duties

Ensures accountability by:

  • appointing the headteacher
  • monitoring progress towards targets
  • performance managing the headteacher
  • engaging with stakeholders (parents & students)
  • contributing to school self-evaluation

Ensuring financial probity by:

  • setting the budget
  • monitoring spending against the budget
  • ensuring value for money is obtained
  • ensuring risks to the organisation are managed

For governing bodies to carry out their roles effectively, governors must be:

  • prepared and equipped to take their responsibilities seriously
  • acknowledged as the accountable body by the lead professionals
  • supported by the appropriate authorities in that task
  • willing and able to monitor and review their own performance

 

The role of a governor:

In law, the governing board is a corporate body which means:

  • No governor can act on his / her own without proper authority from the full governing body.
  • All governors carry equal responsibility for decisions made.
  • Although appointed through different routes, the overriding concern of all governors has to be the welfare of the school as a whole. Governing boards should be alert to the risk of becoming dominated by one particular mind-set or strand of opinion.

For governing boards to carry out their roles effectively, governors must be:

  • prepared and equipped to take their responsibilities seriously
  • acknowledged as the accountable body by the lead professionals
  • supported by the appropriate authorities in that task
  • willing and able to monitor and review their own performance

 

As individuals on the governing board, we agree to the following:

 

Role & Responsibilities

We understand the purpose of the governing board and the role of the headteacher.

We are aware of and accept the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life (see Appendix).

We accept that we have no legal authority to act individually, except when the governing board has given us delegated authority to do so, and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the governing board when we have been specifically authorised to do so.

We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the governing board or its delegated agents. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside the governing board meeting.

We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.

We will encourage open government and will act appropriately.

We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other schools.

We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of our school. Our actions within the school and the local community will reflect this.

We will always use social networking sites responsibly and ensure that neither our personal/professional reputation, nor the school’s reputation is compromised by inappropriate postings.

We will promote tolerance of and respect for those of different faiths and beliefs, races, genders, ages, disability and sexual orientation.

In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting the school we will follow the procedures established by the governing board.

We will support the headteacher and senior leadership team but challenge their expectations and hold them to account for school performance.

 

Commitment

We acknowledge that accepting office as a governor involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy.

We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the governing board and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees or working groups.

We will make full efforts to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend explain in advance why we are unable to do so.

We will get to know the school well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.

We will visit the school, with all visits to school arranged in advance with staff and undertaken within the framework established by the governing board and agreed with the headteacher.

We will demonstrate a commitment to continually developing our knowledge and skills and keeping them up to date. This includes our ability to understand and interpret educational and financial data.

We accept that in the interests of openness and transparency, our full names, date of appointment, term of office, roles on the governing board, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing us will be published on the school’s website.  We accept that personal information will also be published on DfE EduBase, to help increase transparency on who governs our schools.

We accept that we are required to hold an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate (ECRC).

 

Relationships

We will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.

We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in our communications with other governors.

We will support the chair in their role of ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times.

We are prepared to answer queries from other governors in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and we will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved.

We will seek to develop effective working relationships with our headteacher, staff and parents, the local authority, and other relevant agencies and the community.

 

Confidentiality

We will observe complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern specific members of staff or pupils, both inside and outside the school.

We will ensure that we are familiar with, and adhere to, the data protection principals set out in the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 (see Appendix 1).

We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school business arise outside a governing board meeting.

We will not reveal the details of any governing board vote.

 

Conflicts of Interest

We will record any pecuniary or other business interest (including those related to people we are connected with) that we have in connection with the governing board’s business in the Register of Business Interests, and if any such conflicted matter arises in a meeting we will offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time. We accept that the Register of Business Interests will be published on the school’s website.

We will also declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of any meeting should the situation arise.

We will act in the best interests of the school as a whole and not as a representative of any group, even if elected to the governing board.

 

Breach of this Code of Conduct

If we believe this Code has been breached, we will raise this issue with the chair and the chair will investigate; the governing board will only use suspension as a last resort after seeking to resolve any difficulties or disputes in more constructive ways.

Should it be the chair that we believe has breached this Code, another governor, such as the vice chair will investigate.

~ Adapted from the NGA Model Copde of Conduct, 2015

 

The Seven Principles of Public Life

Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.

Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations.

~ Originally published by the Nolan Committee

 

Data Protection and Information Security – Personal Data

The governing board has a collective and individual responsibility regarding confidentiality in respect of school business.  In exercising their functions, governors will on occasion, have access to sensitive personal information about staff and pupils.  This may, for example, relate to safeguarding, exclusion, health or conduct issues.

In addition, the nature of a governor’s role means that they will often receive, access and process information outside of the school premises – at home or at work.  Under the Data Protection Act 1998 it is particularly important that personal and sensitive information is held and handled securely.

We will ensure that we are familiar with, and adhere to, the data protection principals set out in the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998.

We will ensure that personal data:

  • is processed fairly and lawfully
  • is obtained only for lawful purposes, and is not further used in any manner incompatible with those original purposes
  • is accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
  • is adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which it is processed
  • is not kept for longer than is necessary for those purposes;
  • is processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the DPA;
  • is protected by appropriate technical and organisational measures against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage and
  • is not transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection of the personal information

 

Contact details

We will:

  • ensure that our correct contact details (home address, phone number and email address) are held by the school to avoid misdirected communications
  • ensure that our email addresses are professional and where possible, personal (ie not shared with family members)
  • take appropriate steps to prevent others, including family members, from accessing confidential information

 

Electronic personal data

We will:

  • use encryption software/strong passwords on all electronic devices which may contain personal data.  This includes mobile phones, laptops, tablets and USB devices
  • password protect files containing personal data
  • take all reasonable steps to keep such devices secure (eg not leaving them in cars)
  •  ensure that family members/work colleague who share devices, cannot access personal data

 

Paper-based personal data

We will:

  • keep all paper-based files securely
  • dispose of paper records in a secure manner

Governors Information

Annual Governance Statement

for the Governing Body of New Heights School September 2021

In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all governing bodies, the three core strategic functions of the New Heights School Governing Body are:

1.         Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;

Governors are responsible for setting the school’s strategic framework, identifying priorities for school improvement and monitoring progress towards these goals. Governors are also responsible for setting a school ethos of high expectations of behaviour, progress and attainment of all students and of conduct of staff and governors.

2.        Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;

Governors must provide challenge to the school and hold the Headteacher and senior leaders to account for improving the quality of teaching and learning and school performance. Governors do this through questioning and through regular monitoring and analysis of data on children’s performance and progress. Governors hold the Headteacher to account for the performance management of teachers. The performance management of the Headteacher is conducted by governors together with an external advisor.

3.        Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

Governors look at financial statements and ask questions to ensure that the school makes efficient use of its budget and provides best value for money.

Governance arrangements

The Governing Body was re-constituted under the 2012 School Governance Regulations in July 2015 with a revised governing body membership of 10 governors.

The Governing Body now includes:

  • 2 staff governors (including the Headteacher)
  • 2 Parent Governors (vacant)
  • 1 Local Authority Governor
  • 5 Co-opted governors

Co-opted governors are appointed by the Governing Body and are people who, in the opinion of the governing body, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school:

The full Governing Body meets twice each term.

 

Attendance record of governors

You can see the full list of governors and their attendance at meetings on the school website here

The governing body completed a skills audit to identify any further skills or training they needed to be able to deliver their functions effectively.

As a result of the audit, further governor training on “Safeguarding” was provided and on “Financial Budgets and Financial Monitoring”.

Individual governors have also attended training including ‘Induction for new Governors’ and Health and Safety.

Each year, governors sign a Code of Conduct which can be viewed on the website and the Governing Body have also published their Register of Business and Pecuniary Interests.

 

The work that we have done on our committees and in the governing body

The majority of the work this year has involved monitoring the consistency of expectations, and the introduction of a new assessment and tracking system which does not involve previous National Curriculum levels.

Governors monitor the “vulnerable groups” of children and have discussed how the Pupil Premium funding is being spent by the school and what impact this has on their outcomes. See our ‘Pupil Premium Statement’ for further detail regarding impact upon outcomes.

Governors are also responsible for overseeing the maintenance and development of the school premises, and make decisions about how the school should use the budget.

The Health and Safety Governors carry out termly checks of the premises with the school’s Operations Director and Site Manager(s).

Governors concluded that the school has solid management of the finances and has remained within budget.

Another important role for governors is ensuring the safety and well-being of the children and we have a nominated Governor for Safeguarding who reports to the governors about any safeguarding matters.

Safeguarding training for all staff is updated each academic year – or as / when new staff joining the school – which includes CSE, Prevent and FGM training. There is a safeguarding noticeboard in the school which contains all the safeguarding documents.

Governors also review and agree key school policies. A number of statutory policies and procedures have been written / updated in compliance with all relevant legislation including Safeguarding Policy and Procedure, Health and Safety Policy, Accessibility Plan, Equality and Diversity Policy.

The minutes of Governing Body meetings are public documents and you can ask at the school office if you would like to see any of the minutes of our meetings.

 

Future plans for the governors

The governing body will continue to support the Headteacher and senior leaders in the efficient running of the school whilst continuing to strategically develop the excellent standard of education in the current challenging and changing environment.

They will also closely monitor the financial viability of the school in the context of tightening budgets.

Governors will continue to establish systems and styles of working through which the governing body can work most effectively in fulfilling their roles.

They will also look to increase their communication with parents and the community through attendance at parent’s meetings and school events.

 

How you can contact the governing body

We always welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents.

You can contact the Chair of Governors via the school office: