What do governing bodies do?

The school’s governing body is responsible overall for the conduct of the school and must lead the school with a view to promoting high standards of achievement. It should fulfil its functions in a strategic way. Broadly speaking governing bodies have responsibilities in the following areas:

  • Ensuring the school’s 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.

How are governing bodies made up?

Governing bodies must undertake a process of re-constitution before September 2015. This is to ensure they have a dynamic governing body which is no larger than it needs to be, with governors who are actively contributing the relevant skills and experience. They are:

  • Parent governors - elected by other parents at the school;
  • A staff governor - elected by teachers and support staff working at the school;
  • The headteacher;
  • A local authority governor - nominated by the local authority; appointed by the governing body
  • Co-opted governors - chosen and appointed by the governing body; and
  • Foundation governors at church schools - appointed by the diocesan boards and church authorities.

There may be other categories of governor depending on the type of school or if it has not yet re-constituted. 

How do governing bodies work?

A governing body works closely with the headteacher and makes strategic decisions collectively as a team. As well as through school visits, it conducts most of its business through meetings, making use of relevant information, data, guidance and advice from the headteacher and other independent sources.

Regular attendance at meetings is essential. Most governing bodies have committees that focus on curriculum, standards, finance, premises, personnel, teaching and learning. Governors will be expected to join at least one committee which best fits the skills they possess or are willing to develop.

How long is the term of office?

Governors generally serve for a four-year term but may resign mid-term if personal circumstances change.

Contact us

Merton and Sutton Governor Support Service

Children, Schools and Families
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Tel: 020 8545 3307 / 3118 / 3923
Fax: 020 8545 3260
Email: governor.support@merton.gov.uk