Governor Induction Handbook

Governor Induction Pack
Autumn Term 2012
‘Supporting learning and achievement for all’
Induction Booklet – AM
1. Welcome!
2. Why become a school governor?
3. Who are school governors?
4. The Clerk to the Governing Body
5. What does a Governing Body look like?
6. What do governors do?
7. Governor’s ‘Principles of Conduct’
8. Governors and the law
9. Training and Support
10. Relationships
11. Appendices
12. Contact information
1. Welcome!
Dear Governor,
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for offering your support and commitment
as a governor in Carmarthenshire. School governors undertake a key role in supporting
learning and achievement within our schools and constitute a powerful force in the continuous
drive for school improvement.
All governors are able to contribute their rich experience, values and views to enhance and
promote the school’s vision for learning. Real and exciting opportunities exist for regular
discussion and debate across numerous aspects of school life and provision.
Working as a governor will afford you the opportunity of collaborating with a wide range of
colleagues to ensure all children receive enjoyable and developmental learning experiences.
We sincerely hope you enjoy your work as a governor and encourage you to embrace the
training opportunities offered. These will help you fulfil your role as a governor and offer you
new information, skills and experiences in partnership with others.
Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or queries during your term as a governor. We
look forward to working with you for the benefit of all our young people.
Peter Judge
Carmarthenshire Governors’ Forum
Andi Morgan
Senior School Improvement Officer
Carmarthenshire LA
2. Why become a school governor?
There are many benefits to becoming a school governor. As a school governor, you will have
the opportunity to:
a. develop new skills and strengthen existing ones,
b. work with a wide range of people from a variety of social, cultural and religious
c. gain an understanding of how our schools and education system work,
d. enjoy the personal satisfaction and sense of achievement of working to improve
the school,
e. enjoy using your skills to the benefit of your local and wider community.
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3. Who are school governors?
Many kinds of people become governors of schools. Like you, they will have a particular
reason for serving on the governing body. Because of these different reasons all governing
bodies have a core group of governors consisting of:parent governors;
teacher governors;
staff governors;
LA governors;
the Headteacher (acting in the capacity of a governor where this is his/her choice).
Governing bodies will also consist of some of the following governors, depending on the
type of school:
community governors;
additional community governors;
representative governors;
foundation governors;
partnership governors;
sponsor governors.
associate pupil governors (secondary schools).
All governors share exactly the same powers and major goals which are to safeguard the
quality of teaching and learning provided by the school to raise standards of achievement
and attainment for the pupils and the staff, and to be accountable to the local community
for the school’s effectiveness.
The responsibilities which all governors share are much more significant than the variations
between the different kinds of governor. Do remember that the law gives you no powers as an
individual. The law places powers with the whole governing body, of which you are only
one member.
Governor definitions:
Parent Governors
Parent governors are elected as representatives of the interests of parents of pupils
currently attending the school. A parent governor can continue to serve as a governor
until the end of their four year term of office, even if their child leaves the school during
the period. Parent governors may express their personal views at governing body meetings,
however it is expected that these views would be representative of the interests of the parents
at the school. A parent governor should therefore keep “in tune” with the concerns and
opinions of the majority of parents. However, it is important that when decisions are made,
individual governors exercise their best judgement when contributing to the decision of the
governing body.
Teacher Governors
Teacher governors are elected as representatives of the interests of the teaching staff of
their school. Whereas on occasion they may give the views of teaching staff to the
governing body, they are equally free to express their personal views and exercise their
own judgements when decisions are made, like any other governor. Sometimes the views of a
teacher governor will not be those of their headteacher. If this is the case, it is wise for the
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teacher governor to pay the headteacher the courtesy of informing him or her before the
particular issue is discussed in a governors’ meeting.
Staff Governors
Staff governors are elected from among the support staff (all staff employed at the school
other than in a teaching capacity) at the school. They may be staff employed either under
a contract of employment or a contract for services at the school. Staff governors may give the
views of the support staff to the governing body, they are also free to give their own personal
views and exercise their best judgement when contributing to the decisions of the governing
Local Education Authority Governors
Local Education Authority (LEA) governors are appointed by the LEA which maintains the
school. LEA governors may present the LEAs views but they are not delegates of the LEA
and they cannot be mandated by the LEA to take a particular view. LEAs should publish
the process and criteria for identifying candidates for appointment as LEA governors.
Community Governors
These governors are invited by other governors to join the governing body and are
appointed by the governing body. Community members bring their own experience or
skills to the governing body and can act as a link with the community in which the school
serves. Community governors usually live or work in the community of the school area
and are committed to the good government and success of the school.
Additional Community Governors
An additional community governor is nominated by the community council(s) where a
primary or nursery school is situated in an area where there are one or more community
A Headteacher Governor
A headteacher will be a full member of the governing body of their school unless they
choose not to be a governor. If a headteacher decides not to be a governor they are still
entitled to attend all meetings of the governing body. The special position of the headteacher
governor is important if a good relationship is to be maintained between the head and the
governing body. The headteacher will:
report to governors but also involve governors closely in the running of the school (without, of
course, avoiding their own responsibilities);
be honest, direct and open with governors;
establish a good rapport with the chair person of the governing body;
use simple and direct language rather than technical educational jargon;
create a climate where governors feel welcome in the school and not just when governors
meetings are held.
Foundation Governors
Foundation governors are members of the governing bodies of voluntary aided,
foundation and voluntary controlled schools. They ensure that the school preserves its
particular religious character or that it is conducted in accordance with the terms of a trust
Sponsor Governors
This is a person who has given or is giving substantial financial assistance to the school
or who has provided or is providing substantial services to the school or represents the
interests of an organisation or business that has provided the same sponsorship.
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Representative Governors
Representative governors are members of the governing body in Community Special
schools. Representative governors represent the interests of the local health board(s),
NHS trusts or voluntary organisations associated with the school. They take the place
of one of the community governors.
Partnership Governors
Partnership governors apply only to foundation schools which do not have a foundation.
They are appointed by the governing body from nominations by parents of registered
pupils at the school and by other members of the community served by the school.
Associate Pupil Governors
Associate pupil governors are nominated from members of the school council from Years
11, 12 or 13 in secondary schools. The aim of associate pupil governors is to provide the
voice of the school council at governing body meetings and vice versa. They can also be
members of the governing body non statutory committees and may vote at committee
meetings (not governing body meetings) if voting rights are granted by the governing
‘All governors need to become fully involved in the activity of the governing body
and to ensure continuity by attending meetings regularly.’
4. The Clerk to the Governors
Meetings of the governors will be attended by the clerk to the governing body. The role of the
clerk and arrangements for appointment may vary from school to school. It remains the
responsibility of the governing body to decide who should act as clerk and to appoint the clerk.
The governing body will also need to appoint a clerk to the statutory committees. This can be
the same person who is clerk to the governing body but may be someone else. Broadly, the
clerk convenes the governing body meetings and keeps a record of the important matters
discussed and decisions taken during the meeting (the record is called the “minutes”). The
clerk also ensures that each governor receives proper notice of forthcoming meetings and
makes sure that the work of the governing body is well organised, as well as maintaining a
register of governors and reporting on any vacancies.
The clerk is not a governor of the school and is not eligible either to participate directly in
a debate or to vote. Usually, the cost of the clerk is met from the school’s budget.
5. What does a Governing Body look like?
Governing bodies are established and constituted under the ‘Instrument of Government.’
a) The Instrument of Government
The instrument of government sets out how the governing body is constituted and establishes
it as a corporate body. It must therefore set out:
 the name of the school
the category of school to which the school belongs
the name of the governing body of the school
the manner in which the governing body is to be constituted, ie
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the number of governors in each category of governor
where the school has additional community or sponsor governors, who will
be responsible for appointing them
the total membership of the governing body
the term of office of governors, where it is less than the normal period of
four years
where the school is a community special school, the name of the body
responsible for appointing representative governors;
details of any trust, if applicable
where the school is a foundation or voluntary school designated as having
religious character a description of the religious ethos of the school
the date when the instrument of government takes effect.
(Further information is available on:
b) My School Governing Body
The precise composition of a school’s Governing Body will depend upon its category and size
(Appendix 2 provides more detail). Do ensure you that you familiarise yourself with the
composition of your school’s Governing Body. Your GB Chair, Clerk or members of the LA
Governor Support Team can assist you with exact details.
c) The Role of the Chair
The Chair of the governing body (elected annually) plays a key pivotal role in the effectiveness
of the governing body. The Chair leads the governing body but does not have any power to act
on the governing body’s behalf without instructions, except in certain cases of urgency.
The role of the Chair is primarily to:
 ensure meetings are conducted efficiently following the correct governing body
 consider and approve the agenda for each meeting and to ensure that it is
 maintain communication with the headteacher and governors between governing
body and sub-committee meetings;
 act as a spokesperson on behalf of the governing body where necessary;
 ensure that information and documents received are shared with the governing
6. What do governors do?
Governors need to be able to commit interest, enthusiasm and time to the tasks that being a
governor brings. Although you can expect to find that the role of a governor brings personal
reward and satisfaction, it does mean that you must be prepared to give some of your time to
the work. You will be expected to: serve a term of four years from the date of appointment (parent governors in Nursery
schools serve two years), although you may resign at any time if you wish,
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attend at least one governing body meeting during each school term and may be asked
to attend committee meetings,
be prepared to participate as a member of a working party or committee of the
governors from time to time,
be prepared to devote time to visiting the school in order to observe the work of the
school at first hand,
attend training courses arranged by the Local Authority which are free of
charge and which will improve your skills and contribute to your personal development.
Meetings and Agendas:
A full meeting of the Governing Body should be held at least once per term.
It is usual practice for a member of the governing body to ask the Chair to place an item
on the agenda (provided adequate notice is given)
The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005 state that written
notice of the meeting should be given “at least five clear working days in advance” of
the meeting
The notice of meeting should include an Agenda, minutes of the last meeting, any
reports and any other papers to be considered.
Agendas should reflect the GB’s key role in raising standards/achieving school
How to prepare for a Meeting:
read the papers before the meeting
get to know who all the governors are (governors could be asked to wear name labels
to help you)
make sure you have all the necessary papers
prepare your thoughts and questions before the meeting though undoubtedly additional
questions / thoughts will arise as a result of discussion
be punctual
Attendance at Meetings:
Any governor who, without permission, is absent from meetings of the full governing body for a
continuous period of six months will cease to be a governor. If you need to offer apologies for a
meeting this should be done through the Chair or the clerk in advance of the meeting with the
reason for your absence noted.
Governing body meetings are not open to the public. Visitors may attend by invitation but may
be asked to leave if a confidential item is discussed. Governors observe confidentiality
regarding proceedings of the governing body in meetings and from their visits to school as
governors. How an individual governor votes should always be regarded as confidential. The
minutes of any part of the meeting that are confidential should be kept separate. In the main
confidential items will be those where the privacy of an individual needs to be respected.
Exemplar agenda:
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the last meeting
3. Matter Arising
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4. School Improvement Issues:
* Headteacher’s term report
* Working Party reports
* Chair’s Report
* Link Governors’ Reports
* Attendance
5. Staffing Matters:
* New Appointments
* Other
6. GB Matters
7. Procedural Issues
8. For information
9. Any other urgent business (the chairperson to allow items to be discussed or to defer to
next meeting if further research etc, needed)
10. Any items deemed to be confidential
11. Date and time of next meeting
*Appendix 3 provides you with a guide to success and enjoyment at your first GB Meeting.
The Governing Body is required to create and maintain a range of statutory committees (noted
below) and in addition, consider and formulate additional committees as appropriate. All
committees should operate to the same level of standards and procedures, with its role and
responsibilities clearly agreed by the whole Governing Body. (Section 4F of the School
Governor’s Guide to the Law provides detailed guidance)
a) Statutory Committees:
 Staff disciplinary and dismissal committee
 Staff disciplinary and dismissal appeals committee
 Pupil discipline and exclusions committee
 Admissions committee (Voluntary Aided and Foundation schools only)
b) Have procedures in place for the following:
 Headteacher and Deputy head selection panel
 Headteacher Performance Management Appraisers and
Appeals Appraiser(s)
 Pay review and Pay review appeals
 Complaints
 Staff grievance and grievance appeals
 Staff capability and capability appeals
c) Additional (recommended) committees:
 Curriculum and Standards
 Finance
 Property and Maintenance
 Health and Safety
d) Safeguarding – Good Practice:
 The Governing Body nominates a lead governor for ‘safeguarding’ and ensures it
reviews its policy and procedures annually.
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Three Main Roles:
1. The Strategic Role:
The school governing body has a strategic role in the development of the school but does not
become involved in day-to-day management issues – that is the role of the headteacher.
Governors are there to provide a strategic view and help to set and maintain the broad
framework within which the headteacher and the staff should run the school.
Key areas:
 Aims, objectives and values of the school,
 Adopt and review policies in support of achieving aims, objectives and values,
 Set targets for the achieving the aims and objectives,
 Review and monitor progress towards achieving the aims and objectives.
Key support documents:
 School Development Plan (SDP)
 School Self-evaluation report (SER)
 Regional Support, Challenge and Intervention Framework (RSCIF)
 School budget / Financial plan
 Core Data Set and additional data resources
2. The Role of the Critical Friend:
The role of the critical friend is key to success in our schools. A governor acting as critical
friend entails providing the headteacher with support, advice and information but also
challenge. The governing body is there to monitor and evaluate the school’s effectiveness and
governors should therefore be prepared to ask appropriate, challenging questions.
Headteachers will appreciate such dialogue and debate, encouraging all partners to fully
involve themselves in the monitoring and evaluation of school standards.
3. The Accountability Role:
The headteacher and staff are accountable to the governing body for the school’s
performance. In turn the governing body is accountable to all stakeholders for the school’s
overall performance.
“The headteacher and professional staff are accountable to the governing body for the
school’s performance.The governing body must be prepared to explain its decisions and
actions to anyone who has a legitimate interest. This may include staff, pupils, parents
and the press; as well as the LEA, the school’s foundation or the “National Assembly”.
(Extract from ‘Guidance on the School Government (Terms of Reference) (Wales)
Regulations 2000, NAFW Circular No: 34/2000).
All such activity is undertaken as a ‘corporate body’ not as individual or isolated members.
Do not be concerned by this role, on the contrary, it is a most rewarding and satisfying area of
your work.
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Some key aspects of accountability:
Provision of:
 School prospectus (including curriculum content / arrangements, Sex education,
Religious education, )
 Home-School agreement
 Annual progress and achievement reports for children
 Annual report to the parents (including annual meeting)
 Charging Policy
 Effective arrangements and procedures for dealing with complaints
 Effective arrangements for the election of Parent Governors
 Effective arrangements for care, support and development of personnel
 Effective arrangements for formulating, managing and monitoring the school budget
 Effective arrangements for Health, Safety and Welfare (pupils, staff, premises)
 Appropriate documentation for cooperation within inspections
7. Governor’s Principles of Conduct
The following principles of conduct are designed to assist governors discharge their
responsibilities and duties effectively and efficiently:
ensure that their actions reflect the considered, best interests of the school and its
attend governing body meetings regularly,
on appointment avail themselves of the opportunity to attend induction training
provided by the Local Authority / school,
on appointment, familiarise themselves with work of the school and keep this
knowledge up to date,
maintain their knowledge of current education policy, regulations and guidance and
extend their skills by participating in training programmes including whole governing
body training and other events,
demonstrate a commitment to equality of opportunity and reflect this in developing and
applying the policies the school is required to have in respect of disability
discrimination, race relations, sex discrimination, and age discrimination,
act as a critical friend towards those with professional responsibilities in the school,
bearing in mind the governing body’s own responsibility to promote high standards of
educational achievement,
be conscious of, and act within, the limits of the responsibilities of the governing body
and when necessary, seek and give due consideration to professional information,
advice and guidance,
respect the responsibility of the headteacher for the day- to-day decisions in the
management of the school,
observe collective responsibility by supporting, once determined by democratic means,
the decisions of the governing body,
respect the governing body’s right to deem certain matters to be confidential, restricting
discussion of such matters, whether inside or outside governing body meetings, solely
to governor colleagues and in appropriate cases solely to discussion within governing
body committees,
develop with colleagues on the governing body, a clear vision for the school,
focus their contribution to governing body decisions upon what is in the best interests of
pupils, and be conscious that the welfare of pupils should always come first in terms
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of child protection, health and safety and helping each child to develop their full
encourage and participate in systems which provide for open and effective
communication, helping to establish a clear vision of the school’s development,
be aware that all governors are equal and respect others’ views and behave accordingly
in dealings with governor colleagues,
be aware of their accountability to parents and others in the local community and seek
to devise effective dialogue with all those interested in the conduct and standards of the
observe all protocols and procedures agreed by the governing body,
be open, honest, objective, fair and impartial and prepared to confront the personal
prejudices that may hinder informed decision-making including conflicts of interest.
8. Governors and the law
The key document for all governors is ‘A School Governor’s Guide to the Law.’ This document,
published by the Welsh Assembly Government provides comprehensive legal guidance.
Updates to its content are provided quite regularly and are therefore best accessed
The guide can be accessed electronically via: or
(in addition, your GB will also have a CD version available for you)
9. Training and support
A key resource for all governors is the Governor Support Unit, based at Parc Dewi Sant,
Carmarthen. The annual training programme is produced with the support of the
Carmarthenshire Governors Forum. In addition, the LA undertakes, in partnership with the
Carmarthenshire Governors’ Forum, area based Chairs’ Briefings (Carmarthen / Dinefwr /
Llanelli). Each briefing focuses on a specific area of school improvement / governance and
equips Chairs with knowledge and information to be shared with the whole governing body. All
governors are invited to propose content for the briefings.
Link to website training resources:
10. Relationships
Positive relationships are the key to success within our work. None of us work in isolation,
rather we benefit from the skills and contributions of all.
As governors, we focus on relationships with;
a) The headteacher/staff: School staff and governing bodies work closely together to
ensure achievement of agreed aims.
b) Pupils: The voice of our young people must be central to all our work. School Councils
provide a clear platform for developing this valuable resource.
c) The Local Authority: Whilst the LA maintains schools, Governing Bodies are responsible
for them. LAs and Governing Bodies share the common goal of providing the highest
quality of educational experiences for our young people.
d) The Wider Community: Schools naturally operate within communities and can therefore
benefit from a wide range of interaction and activity with its community partners.
Forging and maintaining productive relationships with a range of partners will be the foundation
to all your work as a school governor. These relationships and activities will undoubtedly
provide you with much personal satisfaction and reward.
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11. Appendices
Appendix 1: Confidentiality
All governors need to exercise the highest levels of confidentiality at all times. These can be
numerous and occur in a variety of guises, not simply during meetings;
personal and sensitive information is exchanged during meetings
challenging decisions about the finances of the school are discussed during meetings
a parent or other member of the community may give you information which is relevant
to your work as a governor on the understanding that you will repeat it to no-one else,
i.e. the information is given to you 'in confidence'.
It is essential to your personal reputation and credibility that you do not abuse the rule of
confidentiality, unless it is about a child protection issue. This applies when information is
given to you in confidence whether you receive the information in the playground or the
street, or during the meeting of the governing body. In a meeting you may be privileged to
receive information about parents, pupils, members of staff or even the headteacher. The
information is given to you only because it is necessary for you to do your work as a governor.
For example, when considering pupils with additional educational needs, the pupil concerned
will not by identified by name in order to maintain confidentiality. You must never repeat
information received in confidence in a governors' meeting to others in the community
(including friends and members of your family). Equally, information given to you confidentially
outside the meeting must not be brought into discussion during the meeting.
Break this rule of confidentiality, can affect your personal reputation in the community, your
standing as a governor, the status of your governing body and of governors generally. You
may even be suspended from the governing body for a period of up to six months, or even
removed from the governing body. Elected governors cannot be removed but they can be
*The only circumstances when a breach of confidentiality is justified arises when a
governor of a school receives information in confidence outside a meeting, which
suggests that a pupil is at risk of physical, sexual or other abuse of some kind. Child
protection matters cannot be kept confidential and must be reported to the statutory
authority i.e. the police or social services. However, if a problem of this kind arises, you
would be wise to seek the advice of your chairperson or headteacher as soon as
possible before breaching the confidence.
(A Handbook for Governors of Schools in Wales)
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Appendix 2: Governing Body Constitution
Community Schools
Community secondary school with 600 or more pupils (column a)
Community secondary school with less than 600 pupils (column a or b)
Community primary school with 100 or more pupils (column c or d)
Community primary school with fewer than 100 pupils (column c, d, e or f)
Community maintained nursery school with 100 or more pupils (column c or d)
Community maintained nursery school with fewer than 100 pupils (column c, d, e or f)
Community special school (column c,d,e or f)
Category of governor
Teacher **
Staff **
Community *** ****
Head teacher *
* The Head teacher may choose whether or not to be a governor.
** The instrument of government of a maintained nursery school may allow for a single category of staff governor
in place of the separate categories of teacher governor and staff governor. There must be at least one staff
*** For a community special school the LA may designate one (or more than one acting jointly) appropriate
voluntary organisation to appoint a representative governor, which will take the place of one of the specified
community governors. Where a community special school is established in a hospital, the LA must designate
one (or more than one acting jointly) local health board, or the National Health Service Trust with which the
school is most closely associated, to appoint such a representative governor.
**** A governing body of a community primary or maintained nursery school serving an area for which there are
one or more community councils must provide for the governing body to include one additional community
governor place to be nominated by the community council(s).
Voluntary Controlled (VC) Schools
VC secondary school with 600 or more pupils (column a)
VC secondary school with fewer than 600 pupils (column a or b)
VC primary school with 100 or more pupils (column c or d)
VC primary school with fewer than 100 pupils (column c, d, e or f)
Category of governor
Community **
Head teacher *
* The Head teacher may choose whether or not to be a governor.
** A governing body of a voluntary primary school serving an area for which there are one or more community
councils must provide for the governing body to include one additional community governor place to be nominated
by the community council(s).
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Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools
VA secondary school with 600 or more pupils (column a)
VA secondary school with fewer than 600 pupils (column a or b)
VA primary school with 100 or more pupils (column c or d)
VA Primary school with fewer than 100 pupils (column c,d,e or f)
Category of governor
Head teacher *
Foundation ** *** ****
* The Head teacher may choose whether or not to be a governor.
** The number of foundation governors to be appointed to be such that they outnumber the total number of
governors in all the other categories by three for a secondary school governing body and by two for any other
*** For a secondary school governing body established in line with column a, the foundation governors must
include at least three governors who at the time of their appointment are parents of registered pupils at the
school. For all other options, this number to be at least two.
**** A governing body of a voluntary primary school serving an area for which there are one or more community
councils must provide for the governing body to include one additional community governor place to be
nominated by the community council(s).
Appendix 3: How to ensure success and enjoyment at your first Governors’ Meeting
1. Remember – Everybody was a new governor once.
2. At your first meeting you will need to get to know your governor colleagues, some
of whom will, like you, could be new governors. Sometimes arrangements are made for a new
group of governors to meet socially and introduce themselves prior to the governing body
meeting. You might even be allocated a ‘mentor’ governor to support you through the induction
process. Even if you do not meet your colleagues until the meeting, the chairperson will
welcome you and there may be an opportunity for each governor to say something briefly
about themselves and their role.
3. You may wish to acclimatise yourself before making a contribution to the meeting, after all, it
is not a competition to see who can speak first or the longest. Take your time!
4. If you feel you have a contribution to make, you have just as much right as any other
governor to speak. No governor is any more or less powerful than another – it's just that some
are more experienced than others. Remember to speak through the Chairperson, that is, you
give your comments to the Chairperson even though you are speaking to a governor
5. You may be asked whether you are willing to serve on a committee or working party to
examine one particular matter about the life of the school. You could be asked at your very first
meeting! You need to think very carefully about how comfortable you are about the focus of the
particular committee or working party which you might be invited to join. There is a good case
for becoming part of a group which is concentrating upon a matter that is already familiar to
you and with which you feel comfortable. If you are confident, however, don't forget that
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throwing yourself into a committee or working party is a very good way of learning very quickly
about a subject which is very new to you. You’ll need to think about which approach will be
best for you.
6. Don’t worry if you feel you did not contribute fully at your first meeting. There will be plenty of
other opportunities both to get to know your governor colleagues and to make your contribution
to meetings.
7. Remember induction training for new governors is an excellent way to learn about your new
role and responsibilities.
Appendix 4: Useful sources of information
 Governors Wales’ Handbook
 School Governors Guide to the Law
 School Development Plan
 School prospectus
 School admissions policy
 Copy of the last annual report to parents
 Head teacher’s most recent termly report
 Latest Estyn inspection report and School Action Plan
 School policy statements
 Current staff list
 List of governors with pen portraits
 Timetable for the academic year’s governors meetings
 Terms of reference for all committees
 Policy statement about visits to school
 Current programme of LA training events for governors.
*Most governors gain a great deal from making an early formal visit to the school provided they
observe the protocols involved (schools will have agreed protocols in place). A first-hand
impression of the school gives governors a context and background to the papers and
discussions at meetings and provides a secure basis for greater participation in decisionmaking.
Appendix 5: Top Tips for Governors in the First 12 Months (Judy Burgess - Educational
Consultant for Governance)
Don’t bring up issues about your own children at governing body level.
Always consider the best interests of the school.
Remember you are equal to all governors.
Remember decision-making is corporate, bring your view, but abide by the corporate
5. You have no power, responsibility or liability as an individual.
6. Get to know your school, speak to the headteacher, the Chair and the clerk.
7. Ask for a mentor governor as a first point of contact.
8. Your volunteer status means getting summaries - don’t allow governance to become a fulltime job.
9. Remember the governing body steers, the headteacher manages the rowing and the
10. If you are a member of a committee be familiar with its terms of reference.
11. Find out about confidentiality and always maintain it.
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12. Don’t be part of decision-making where a personal interest or occupation allows you to
become biased - declare the interest and withdraw.
13. If you don’t feel you have enough information to make a decision then say so - remember
you can abstain.
14. Prepare well for all meetings.
15. Attend training whenever and wherever possible.
Appendix 6: Characteristics of the Effective Governing Body
starts and ends meetings on time
has meetings with clear purposes
has meetings which make decisions
has supportive paperwork
circulates papers in advance
reaches clear action points
has concise minutes which demonstrate who will do what
delegates well
knows the strength of all its members
uses the strength of all its members
has open communications, and respects the views of all
has a high level of trust
does not feel threatened by conflict
reaches decisions democratically
Appendix 7: Some FAQs
Can a governor take time off work because he/she is a governor?
The Employment Rights Act 1996 gives employees the right to have time off to perform official duties,
as long as ‘time off’ is reasonable in the particular circumstances. If a governor is in employment, they
should clarify with their employer the conditions for releasing employees from work and whether this
would be with or without pay.
Can I be paid for being a governor?
No, although schools may pay expenses in addition to travel and subsistence. The funds for payment of
expenses, etc, come from the school’s delegated budget and must be shown in the annual report to
parents. For further information, please refer to The Governors Allowances (Wales) Regulations 2005
and School Governors Guide to the Law.
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What is an instrument of government?
An instrument of government is a legal document which sets out the exact size and composition of the
governing body.
Are the Minutes of governing body meetings confidential?
The governing body must ensure that the agenda, approved draft minutes, signed minutes of meetings
and any report or paper considered should be available for inspection at the school by any interested
person. However, any item deemed confidential by the governing body, or items relating to a named
pupil or member of staff would not be included.
Minutes are usually in two parts and the confidential items are in the second part. When the confidential
part of the agenda is reached all non-governors, apart from the clerk and the Headteacher (if not a
governor) should be asked to leave the meeting (as determined by the governing body). It is important
however, to note that even the confidential part of the minutes must be made available if requested
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, although information will have to be blanked out to meet
requirements in the Data Protection Act.
What is the quorum for governing body meetings?
The quorum for a meeting of the governing body is one half (rounded up to a whole number) of the
governing body membership, excluding any vacancies.
Should a clerk be appointed to every committee of the governing body?
No, it is only necessary for the statutory committees. A governing body may however, appoint a clerk to
any other committee established by it.
Do governing bodies have to hold an annual parents meeting?
The governing body must by law, write a report to and hold a meeting with parents once a year.
However, if the school is established in a hospital or is a maintained boarding school where 50% or
more of the pupils are boarders, the governing body can decide that it is not practical to hold an annual
parents meeting. There are also other exemptions to the requirement to hold an annual parents
meeting which apply for one year only, for example:
1. if a parents’ meeting has been held after a school inspection, to discuss the inspector’s report
prior to the governing body producing its action plan:
2. if the governing body has held a meeting or meetings where all parents have been invited and
which has been attended by three or more governors;
3. if fewer than 5% of parents respond to a notice sent out accompanying the annual report asking
parents if they wish the governing body to hold the annual meeting. Further information can be
found in The Annual Parents’ Meeting (Exemptions) (Wales) Regulations 2005.
Do governing bodies have to produce an annual report to parents?
Yes, it is a statutory requirement. Governing bodies must produce a full annual report, although it is not
necessary to distribute the full report. GBs may if they wish, distribute a summary report containing the
required information, together with details of how the full report can be requested if required.
If you are a parent governor and your child leaves the school during your term of office, can you
remain as a parent governor?
Yes, you can continue to serve as a parent governor, until the end of your four year term of office, even
if your child leaves the school during this time.
Are teacher or staff governors eligible to stand for the position of Chair of the governing body?
No, teacher or staff governors cannot become Chair or Vice-Chair of the GB or Chair of a Committee.
Is it a requirement that governors attend training sessions?
Training provided by LAs and Diocesan authorities is free of charge and is not compulsory to attend.
However, it is highly recommended regardless of whether you are a new or experienced governor.
Training will assist you with the roles and responsibilities of the governing body and will certainly help
you in carrying out your role more effectively. LA training programmes can be accessed on the training
section on this website. New governors should be encouraged to attend induction training offered by
the LA.
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How long can a governor remain as Chair to the governing body?
The governing body must elect a chair and vice-chair on an annual basis from the governing body. A
governor who is paid to work at the school or is a pupil at the school cannot be eligible to be chair or
vice-chair at that school.
Can a Deputy Head regularly attend governing body meetings and take part in proceedings?
The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005 (Reg 44) state that the following
persons are entitled to attend any meeting of the governing body (subject to any restrictions on persons
taking part in the proceedings as noted in Regulation 63 and Schedule 7) –
 subject to regulation 49, a governor;
 the head teacher of the school, whether or not he is a governor;
 the clerk to the governing body; and
 such other persons as the governing body may determine.
From this it is clear that the Deputy Head should be invited to attend by the governing body and should
not attend otherwise – they would be there as a visitor or observer and not take part in discussions or
debate, unless asked.
Is it a statutory requirement to have a representative from a minor authority (e.g. Community
Council) as an additional community governor on a primary school governing body?
It is a statutory requirement for governing bodies of maintained primary schools (where the primary
school serves an area for which there are one or more community councils) to appoint an additional
community governor (nominated by the Community Council).
Appendix 8: Statutory Policies and Documents
 Admissions policy (Voluntary Aided schools only)
 Charging & Remissions policy
 Child Protection policy/Safeguarding Children procedures
 Complaints policy & procedures
 Curriculum policy
 Health and Safety policy (Voluntary Aided and Foundation schools only)
 Pay policy
 Performance Management policy
 Pupil Discipline (including anti-bullying policy)
 Race Equality/Equal Opportunities policy
 School Session times
 Sex Education policy (Secondary schools)
 Special Educational Needs policy
 Staff Discipline, Conduct, Capability and Grievance policies
The policies listed are those that the governing bodies of schools have a duty to produce and
adopt for their schools. Those are not to be confused with other policies determined centrally
and for which governing bodies have a statutory duty to implement for example, nutritional
standards, acts of collective worship, etc.
 Accessibility Plan
 Action plan following school inspection
 Disability Equality scheme
 Freedom of Information publication scheme
 Governors’ Allowances Scheme
 Governors’ Annual Report to Parents
 Home School Agreements
 Instrument of Government
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Minutes of and papers considered at meetings of the governing body and its committees
Register of Pupils
Register of Business Interests of Headteacher and Governors
School Self-Evaluation Report
Target-setting for schools
Transition plans
Appendix 9: Jargon Buster
ACAS - Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service
ACE - Advisory Centre for Education
ADEW - Association of Directors of Education in Wales
CES - Catholic Education Society
CETW - Council for Education and Training Wales
DDE - Diocesan Director of Education
DELLS - Department for Education, Lifelong Learning & Skills
DCSF - Department for Children, Schools and Families
DRC - Disability Rights Commission
ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council
ESTYN - Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales
GTCW - General Teaching Council for Wales
HSE - Health & Safety Executive
LEA - Local Education Authority
NAC - National Assembly Commission
NASEN - National Association for Special Educational Needs
NCPTA - National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations
NFER - National Foundation for Educational Research
NGA - National Governors Association
NGFL - National Grid for Learning
NS - National Society
OPSI - Office of Public Sector Information
QCA - Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
SNAP - Special Needs Advisory Project
STRB - School Teacher Review Body
TES - Times Educational Supplement
WAG - Welsh Assembly Government (Officials)
WAMG - Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group
WJEC - Welsh Joint Education Committee
WLGA - Welsh Local Government Association
CIF – Common Inspection Framework
HMI - Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools
PIC - Pre-Inspection Commentary
RgI - Registered Inspector
SAP - School Action Plan
SER - Self-Evaluation Report
CEO - Chief Education Officer
CSO - Chief Schools Officer
DOE - Director of Education
ESP - Education Strategic Plans
EWO - Education Welfare Officer
GSU - Governor Support Unit
ITT - Initial Teacher Training
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LAC - Looked After Children
NNEB - National Nursery Examination Board
PGR - Parent Governor Representative
PRU - Pupil Referral Unit
SIO – School Improvement Officer
SSA - Standard Spending Assessment
VA - Value Added
ASCL - Association of School and College Leaders
ATL - Association of Teachers and Lecturers
NAHT - National Association of Headteachers
NASUWT - National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers
NUT - National Union of Teachers
PAT - Professional Association of Teachers
UCAC - National Association of Teachers in Wales
UNISON - Union of Public Employees
CRB - Criminal Records Bureau
DDA - Disability Discrimination Act
ELLC - Education and Lifelong Learning Committee
FOIA - Freedom of Information Act
IIP - Investors In People
PFI - Private Finance Initiative
SENDA - Special Education Needs and Disability Act
SI - Statutory Instrument
SSFA - Schools Standard and Framework Act
SENDIST - Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal
ALS - Additional Literary Support
APM - Annual Parents’ Meeting
APR - Annual Parents’ Report
AT - Attainment Target
AWPU - Age-Weighted Pupil Unit
BSF - Better Schools Fund
CFR - Consistent Financial Reporting
CPD - Continual Professional Development
CSI - Core Subject Indicator
EAL - English as an Additional Language
EBD - Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
EMAs - Education Maintenance Allowances
EPD - Early Professional Development
FE - Further Education
FSM - Free School Meals
FTE - Full Time Equivalent
GB - Governing Body
GCE - General Certificate of Education
GCSE - General Certificate of Secondary Education
GNVQ - General National Vocational Qualification
HE - Higher Education
HLTA - Higher Level Teacher Assistant
HOD - Head of Department
HOY - Head of Year
HSA - Home-School Agreement
ICT - Information Communications Technology
IEP - Individual Education Plan
INSET - In-Service Education and Training
ISF - Innovative Schools Fund
ISR - Individual School Range
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ITT - Initial Teacher Training
KS - Key Stage
LAP - Language And Play
LPSH - Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers
LSA - Learning Support Assistant
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulties
NC - National Curriculum
NOR - Number on Roll
NPQH - National Professional Qualification for Headship
NQT - Newly Qualified Teacher
NRA - National Record of Achievement
NVQ - National Vocational Qualification
OSHL - Out of School Hours Learning
PGCE - Post-Graduate Certificate of Education
PHIP - Professional Headship Induction Programme
PI - Performance Indicator
PLASC - Pupil Level Annual School Census
PLC – Professional Learning Community
PPA - Preparation, Planning and Assessment time
PRP - Performance Related Pay
PSHE - Personal, Social and Health Education
PTA - Parent Teacher Association
PTR - Pupil Teacher Ratio
QTS - Qualified Teacher Status
ROA - Record Of Achievement
SATs - Standard Assessment Tasks
SBIG - School Buildings Improvement Grant
SDP - School Development Plan
SEF – School Effectiveness Framework
SEN - Special Educational Needs
SENCO - Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator
SIMS - School Information and Management System
SIP - School Improvement Plan
SL - Subject Leader
SLA - Service Level Agreement
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulties
SLMs - School Leadership Modules
SMT - Senior Management Team
STA - Statutory Teacher Assessments
TA - Teaching Assistant
TLR - Teacher and Learning Responsibility
UPN - Unique Pupil Number
UPS - Upper Pay Scale
VA - Voluntary-Aided
VC - Voluntary Controlled
WRE - Work Related Education
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12. Contact information:
Governors Wales: Helpline - 0845 6020100
Governors Wales’ confidential helpline provides independent advice and support on any issue
concerning school governance in Wales, ranging from legal responsibilities, meetings and
committee procedures to target setting and many more. The helpline is available from 9.00am
to 10.00pm during weekdays and 11.00am to 4.00pm at weekends, excluding Public and Bank
Holidays. All calls to the helpline are local rate and a bilingual service is available. The helpline
is operated by an expert team of helpline staff and governor volunteers who are supported,
when necessary, by independent legal advisers retained on Governors Wales’ behalf.
Carmarthenshire LA Governor Support Unit:
Gareth Morgans: Head of Governance and Inclusion
01267 246450
Llew Thomas: School Governance and Admissions Manager
01267 246469
Andi Morgan: Senior Consortium School Improvement Officer – Leadership and Governance
01267 246645
Jane Rees: School Governance Officer
01267 246448
Rhianydd Jones-Evans: Administrative Assistant
01267 246449
Anwen Fisher: Business Support Assistant
01267 246446
Ian Rees: Research and Development Officer
01267 246447
The Department for Education and Children,
Building 2, St David's Park, Job's Well Road,
SA31 3HB
Remember! Carmarthenshire LA Governor Support website pages
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