School governing bodies ‘are the strategic leaders of our schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education’. (The 2015 Governors’ Handbook, published by the Department for Education). For maintained schools this is reflected in the law, which states that the purpose of maintained school governing bodies is to ‘conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school’.
The structure and remit of St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary Governing Body and its committees
Governors come from all walks of life and play a vital role in shaping the school and ensuring educational standards are met.
The Governing Body consists of
This constitution is laid down in the Instrument of Government for St Wilfrid’s Catholic Primary School which came into effect on 12th February 2015 when the Governing Body was re-constituted under the School Governance (Constitution) (England) regulations 2012.
In addition, the Governing Body is able to appoint Associate members, who are appointed to sit on a specific committee because of the experience they bring to that committee.
The Governing Body of St Wilfrids Catholic Primary School meets as a Full Governing Body and committees to deliver the three core strategic functions of school governors:-
The Governing Body delegates some of its work to committees, through terms of reference, which are reviewed and agreed annually by the Full Governing Body. The membership of these committees is also agreed annually by the Full Governing Body. The key committee is:
Terms of reference and membership of the committee is available via the school office.
Governor monitoring – how can governors really know and challenge school leaders?
Governors visit school to monitor key aspects of the school’s development and provide support and challenge to the school. Individual governors have visited the school during the year to monitor a range of different areas, including:
Being able to observe the children in school and speak directly with pupils, is a key way for governors to gain an understanding of the school, to see learning in process, children’s behaviour and to assure themselves regarding the implementation of a range of policies for the education and wellbeing of pupils.
Governors also hear regularly from members of the staff, both informally during their monitoring visits and through formal presentations to the Governors.
Keeping up to date with the skills needed
Governing Bodies are required to take charge of their own development in order to ensure that they remain fit for purpose. This can include training and development activities to ensure that skills gaps are filled when vacancies arise, and briefing and training events to keep informed of changes to the educational framework. During 2016 - 17 Governors have participated in individual training activities and events.
The work that we have done on our committees and in the Board of Governors
The Board of Governors has again had a particularly busy year. Governors have been carefully concentrating on, and monitoring, whole school improvement. On reconstitution, Governors completed a skills audit to identify the skills, knowledge and experience of current governors and any additional specific skills or experience that the Board ideally requires. The outcome of the audit helps us to formulate opinion as to whether prospective governors have the skills to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school. It will also help to inform future governor elections.
We have received updated safeguarding information, delivered by the Head Teacher.
We have spent time examining the performance data for the school and considering where this shows that improvements can be made in overall attainment of pupils and in the progress they make year on year. We have been considering the school improvement plan and we have received reports from the School Leaders on the progress being made towards targets.
We have conducted Performance Management of the Headteacher, together with our external advisor, and have set targets for the future, around further raising standards and succession planning.
The Finance Committee looks at the maintenance and development of the school premises, and makes decisions about how the school should use its budget. The Finance Committee has examined and approved the 2016/2017 budget plan for the school: and we are pleased to report that the school is in a healthy position financially.
One of the roles for the governors is reviewing and agreeing school policies, and this year we have considered a number of key policies, and significant work has continued on developing appropriate policies.