Governors - introduction
An introduction to who we are and what we do
Every school has a Governing Body. The size and structure of the governing body depends on the size and type of school. In our case, as Trenode is a Church school, the majority of our governors are appointed by the Parochial Church Council and Diocesan Board of Education. These are the Foundation governors, some of whom must also be parents of children at Trenode, and they have a particular responsibility for maintaining the Christian character of the school and linking the school with our parish Church of St Wenna, Morval. We also have a Parent governor (elected by parents), one staff governors and one governor appointed by the Local Authority.
The Headteacher and Parish Priest are ‘ex-officio’ members, which means that they are governors because of their position, and do not have to be elected.
What do school governors do?
The governors have various legal responsibilities, some of which are addressed by the full governing body, and others by smaller committees. We set the annual budget with the guidance of a visiting bursar, then monitor it throughout the year. This often involves making tough decisions about priorities within very limited resources. We have a monitoring role and a responsibility for ensuring high standards of education and care. We share responsibility with the Headteacher for appointing staff and for Health and Safety and Security issues, Child Protection and Safeguarding and, (in consultation with the Diocesan Board) for maintenance and improvement of the school building. We sometimes have to make decisions about admitting new pupils to the school, particularly if a year group is full.
A Governor is often referred to as a ‘critical friend’
Every term the governing body receives a detailed Headteacher’s report that covers all aspects of school life, from performance statistics to School Council meetings. There is always a particular focus on Every Child Matters (a former government programme which we continue to value, ensuring every child’s entitlement to enjoyment, achievement, safety and wellbeing) and the School Development Plan (the driving force behind all teaching and learning in the school). By understanding what is happening in school, the governors are able to recognise its strengths and support the staff in addressing any areas needing improvement. Apart from belonging to committees, individual governors take on roles with specific responsibilities such as Data, Equality, Special Educational Needs, etc. We also each have an interest in particular subject areas or age groups. We visit the school regularly to find out about our own area of interest, then report back to the rest of the governors. These visits might identify a need for additional funding for resources, or might help governors understand how pupils respond to a particular subject, or might simply be an opportunity to celebrate inspiring teaching and support methods or excellent behaviour. Governors each bring their own experience and expertise to their role. We also attend quite a lot of meetings and training outside school in order to keep up to date with new ideas, government initiatives and knowledge of our own area of interest. This helps us to be ‘critical friends’.
All parents are welcome to contact the governors, formally or informally, with any questions and comments about anything to do with the school. We might not have the answers, but we will probably know how to find out. You might want to approach one of the parent governors in the first instance. All governors can be contacted through school, or contact Maggie Willmott at home on 01503 240218. There are usually some governors available for a chat during Parents’ Evenings and other school events – please talk to us. (Any formal complaints, if you do not feel they have been dealt with by the Headteacher, should be made in writing through the school office to Maggie Willmott)