St Nicholas Church of England

Infants' School

Becoming The Best We Can Be

The Role of the Governing Body

What does the Governing Body do?

Every academy in the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST) has a Local Governing Body (LGB) to which the Trust delegates most of its responsibilities for managing the school. Our LGB consists of representatives from parent/carers, school staff and the local community. Governors monitor the work of the school by attending meetings, receiving reports, asking challenging questions and visiting the school frequently to see how the school's development plan is being implemented.  This enables the Governing Body to fulfil its role as ‘critical friend’ to the school.


If you are interested in becoming a governor or finding out further information please speak to the Headteacher or a member of the Governing body.


How do we work?

The Governing Body works in partnership with the Headteacher who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the school. Being a school governor means being part of a team that includes the Headteacher and other senior leaders.


The full LGB meets at least once each term.  There are also sub-committees which meet to discuss specific aspects of the school such as Teaching, Learning & Ethos and Resources (finance and health & safety) in more detail. Some governors are also appointed to link with particular areas, i.e. Special Educational Needs, Pupil Premium and Safeguarding.


Because our delegated powers to make decisions or take action belong to the LGB as a whole, no individual governor has the power to make decisions or take action on its behalf.


How are governors chosen?

There are several types of school governor; the makeup of each Governing Body (and the numbers of each category) depends on the size and type of school. At St Nicholas, our governing body has:


Two Parent governors: they are elected by parents of the children at the school – or they may be appointed by the Governing Body if no-one stands for election.

Three Community governors: local people nominated by the Governing Body and appointed by ODST trustees.

One Staff governor: elected from among those who work at the school, including teaching, support and administration staff.

The Head Teacher of the school.

Three Foundation Governors: who are appointed by ODST trustees.


What qualifications do governors need?

No particular qualifications or experience are needed.  The most important qualities for any governor are to be interested in the welfare and progress of the children and the school and to be prepared to give their time and effort when required.  Governors are not expected to be experts in education, indeed many governors start by bringing skills relating to the commercial world and learn about the educational side as they go.


Realistically, how much time would be needed to do the work of a governor properly?

The time commitment is not usually excessive, though the responsibilities of a school governor can be considerable.  The list below suggests a typical workload:


- Reading of agenda and other papers for meetings;

- At least 1 full governing body meeting per term;

- 1 or 2 meetings per term for each committee of which the governor is a member;

- At least 1 school visit per term during the day;

- Possible involvement with any staff selection, pupil exclusion or staff dismissal cases;

- At least 1 training session per year, often these are held during the evening.


As you can see, this can amount to maybe 9 or 10 meetings per year in the evenings and visits to the school during the day, plus time taken to read papers before meetings. If you become the Chair of a Committee or Chair of Governors then the time commitment required will increase.


Do governors get paid?

No.  They can be considered to be the largest volunteer workforce in the country and are not paid for the time spent on governor activities. However, governors are able to claim expenses for such things as travel to the meetings or training sessions and childcare costs incurred for attending meetings.


What about time off work to be a governor?

Most meetings are during the evenings.  The law says that an employer must give an employee “reasonable” time off work for governor business, but pay is at the employer’s discretion.  Many employers actively encourage their employees to become governors, because it provides new experiences and skills which are useful in many jobs.


How long do governors serve?

Most governors are elected or appointed for four years.  However, if they move away or have to resign mid-term, that is not a problem, so although you should think of it as a 4 year role you should not worry if you have to leave sooner.