The Role of the Governing Body
Pope Paul’s Governing Body is made up of 7 Foundation Governors (appointed by the Diocese of Westminster), 2 parents (elected by parents), the Headteacher, 1 member of staff (elected by school staff) and a governor appointed by the Local Authority.
Governors generally hold their office for a period of four years at a time. During this time they have the opportunity to attend training courses and workshops on a comprehensive range of topics provided by the Local Authority and the Archdiocese, and receive updates on salient issues from a variety of sources.
Governors provide guidance and support. The role of a governor is that of a ‘critical friend’, who is there to give direction and focus to the school leadership. The management of the school is the responsibility of the headteacher. Meetings of the full Governing Body are usually held twice a term throughout the school year. Topics covered in meetings may include planning the school’s long-term vision through the School Improvement Plan, target setting and monitoring, and the school budget. Much of the work, however, is devolved to a series of committees to ensure the workload is dealt with effectively.
The Governors make important, collective decisions and the Governing Body is answerable to parents and the community. The responsibilities of the Governing Body can be summarised as providing strategic management, acting as a critical friend and ensuring accountability.
Specific responsibilities include:
- ensuring that the school is conducted as a Catholic School and in accordance with the Trust Deed of the Diocese of Westminster;
- setting the school’s aims and values;
- planning the school’s long-term future;
- promoting high standards of education and achievement;
- setting, agreeing and overseeing budgets;
In all types of schools Governing Bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the performance management of staff; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent. – (Source “Governors Handbook” January 2015)*
Governors, along with the headteacher and senior school team, form the leadership team of the school. They have a crucial role in ensuring the school is successful in meeting the needs of all its pupils and in achieving high standards. They are, along with all other categories of governors, under a legal duty to conduct their school with a view to promoting high educational standards (Education Act 2002) and to promote the well-being of pupils at the school, promote community cohesion, have regard to any relevant Children and Young People Plan and to have regard to the views espoused by parents/guardians of registered pupils. A Catholic school is not one which merely follows the secular National Curriculum with Catholic religious education and liturgical worship bolted on, but rather an institution where Gospel values and the Catholic faith are at the heart of everything and permeate every facet of its work.