What is a Parent Governor?
The definition of a parent governor, is a person who is elected as a member of the Governing Board of the school, by parents of registered pupils at the school and who is a parent at the time of their election. Governors come from all walks of life and bring a rich variety of skills and experience to schools. What Governors at Holme Slack have in common, is a passion for education and a commitment to furthering the life chances of all of the children we serve.
- The parent of a registered pupil at the school.
- An individual who had or has had parental responsibility for, or cares or has cared for, a child or young person under the age of 19.
A person is disqualified from serving for election (or appointment) as a parent governor if s/he is:
- An elected member of the Local Authority; or
- Paid to work at the school for more than 500 hours in any consecutive twelve month period (at the time of the election or appointment).
The Role of the School Governor
To contribute to the work of the governing board in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school by:
- ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff;
- overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
Activities: As part of the governing board team, a governor is expected to:
1. Contribute to the strategic discussions at governing board meetings which determine:
- the vision and ethos of the school;
- clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school;
- that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum;
- the school’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium allocation;
- the school’s staffing structure and key staffing policies;
- the principles to be used by school leaders to set other school policies.
2. Hold executive leaders to account by monitoring the school’s performance; this includes:
- agreeing the outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the school development plan;
- considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance;
- asking challenging questions of school leaders;
- ensuring senior leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits;
- ensuring senior leaders have developed the required policies and procedures and the school is operating effectively according to those policies;
- acting as a link governor on a specific issue, making relevant enquiries of the relevant staff, and reporting to the governing board on the progress on the relevant school priority;
- listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders: pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community, including local employers.
3. Ensure the school staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.
4. When required, serve on panels of governors to:
- appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders appraise the headteacher;
- set the headteacher’s pay and agree the pay recommendations for other staff;
- hear the second stage of staff grievances and disciplinary matters;
- hear appeals about pupil Exclusions.
The role of a governor is largely a thinking and questioning role, not a doing role.
A governor does NOT:
1. write school policies
2. undertake audits of any sort – whether financial or health & safety – even if the governor has the relevant professional experience;
3. spend much time with the pupils of the school – if you want to work directly with children, there are many other voluntary valuable roles within the school;
4. fundraise – this is the role of the PTA – the governing board should consider income streams and the potential for income generation, but not carry out fundraising tasks;
5. undertake classroom observations to make judgements on the quality of teaching – the governing board monitors the quality of teaching in the school by requiring data from the senior staff and from external sources;
6. do the job of the school staff; if there is not enough capacity within the paid staff team to carry out the necessary tasks, the governing board need to consider and rectify this.
As you become more experienced as a governor, there are other roles you could volunteer for which would increase your degree of involvement and level of responsibility (e.g. as a chair of a committee).
This role description does not cover the additional roles taken on by the chair, vice-chair and chairs of committees.
In order to perform this role well, a governor is expected to:
- get to know the school, including visiting the school occasionally during school hours and in agreement with the headteacher, and gaining a good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses;
- attend induction training and regular relevant training and development events, attend meetings (full governing board meetings approximately 6 per year) and read all the papers before the meeting;
- act in the best interests of all the pupils of the school behave in a professional manner, as set down in the governing board’s code of conduct, including acting in strict confidence.
Qualifications to serve as a governor
A governor must be aged 18 or over at the time of his/her election or appointment and cannot hold more than one governorship at the same school. A person is disqualified from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor or associate member if he or she:
- is subject to a bankruptcy restriction order, an interim bankruptcy restrictions order, a debt relief;
- restrictions order or an interim debt relief restrictions order;
- has had his/her estate sequestrated and the sequestration has not been discharged, annulled or reduced; is subject to:-
- a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Act 1986,
- a disqualification order under the Companies Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002;
- a disqualification undertaking accepted under the Company directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002
- an order made under section 429(2)(b) or the Insolvency Act 1986 (failure to pay under a county court administration order).
- has been removed from the office of charity trustee or trustee for a charity by an order made by the Charity Commission or Commissioners or High Court on the grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity, or under section 34 of the Charities and Trustees Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from being concerned in the management or control of any board;
- is included in the list of people considered by the Secretary of State as unsuitable to work with children;
- is disqualified from working with children or subject to a direction under section 142 of the Education Act 2002;
- is disqualified from working with children under sections 28,29 or 29A of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000;
- is disqualified from registration under Part 2 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 for child minding or providing day care;
- is disqualified from registration under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006;
- Has received a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than 3 months (without the option of a fine) in the 5 years before or since becoming a governor;
- has received a prison sentence of 2 ½ years or more in the 20 years before becoming a governor; has at any time received a prison sentence of 5 years or more;
- has been convicted under section 547 or EA 1996 (nuisance or disturbance on school premises) or under section 85A of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (nuisance or disturbance on educational premise)
- during the 5 years prior to or since appointment or election as a governor;
- is employed at the school for more than 500 hours per academic year if wishing to stand for parent governor at the same school;
- is an elected member of the Local Authority (applies to parent and community governors only);
- has refused a request by the clerk to the governing body to make an application under section 113B of the Police Act 1997 for a criminal records certificate;
- has been disqualified from holding office as a governor of this school due to failure to attend governing body meetings for a continuous period of six months.