School governors are not new: they have existed for about 600 years, and their role has not changed as much as people might imagine. Long before there was schooling for all children, people accepted that the community had some responsibility for a service whose quality affected everybody. It was intended that school governors should bring common sense and everyday experience to bear on the running of schools. The job of professionals was to carry out expertly the policies agreed with the governors. What is new is the higher profile of Governing Bodies. A demand for more accountability within the education service has meant there is a greater public awareness of the role that governors have to play, and greater expectations that Governing Bodies will perform their role responsibly and effectively. School governors and the headteacher are responsible for the overall educational and financial health of the school and will make decisions about:
- setting and monitoring the school’s aims and policies;
- agreeing and monitoring the school’s budget;
- appointing staff, including the headteacher;
- maintenance of the school premises;
- improving the school’s environment.
Governors make sure that:
- the National Curriculum is taught;
- standards of achievement are raised;
- the school provides for all its pupils including those from ethnic minority backgrounds and those with special needs;
- the school encourages pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development;
- staff and pupils enjoy a safe and healthy environment.
The work is important, usually satisfying, sometimes challenging, never dull!