The role of Governors is defined in law by the school governance regulations (2013). These regulations are summmarised below:
The governing body provides non-executive leadership. In all matters, the ‘board of governors’ should operate at a strategic level, leaving the headteacher and senior school leaders responsible and accountable to it for the operational day-to-day running of the school.
The regulations define three core functions consistent with the strategic role of the board. These are to:
• set the vision and strategic direction of school;
• hold the headteacher to account for its educational performance; and
• ensure financial resources are well spent.
The board's role is to focus strongly on these core functions and avoid its time being consumed with issues of secondary importance. While a range of other issues may at times require the board’s attention, this should not be at the expense of its ability to oversee and drive up the overall educational and financial performance of the school.
Governors need a robust process and framework for setting priorities, creating accountability and monitoring progress. This is facilitated by a school development plan that sets out strategic targets and key performance indicators. The focus is on significant strategic challenges and opportunities for school improvement in line with the board’s core functions, avoiding unnecessary detail and peripheral issues.
To create robust accountability, governors need to ask challenging questions on the basis of robust objective data. Governors should not just rely on information provided by the headteacher. Rather, they 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 governing body is organised into four main committees: Buildings & Premises, Curriculum and Pupil Welfare, Finance and Staffing. The governors publish an annual governance statement with the accounts to explain how it has fulfilled its responsibilities.