The governors have a pigeon hole in the school office where messages and letters can be posted. The governors also have a School Community Committee which is made up of parents and governors.
Parent governors are elected by parents and Islington appoints the Local Authority governor. The staff governor is elected by Hanover staff and a staff member is also appointed as a Co-opted governor by the Governing Body. The aim is to have one teaching and one non-teaching staff member. The remaining governors are co-opted by the Governing Body to provide any skills and experience which governors feel are required. All governors initially serve for a period of four years. At the end of the four years, they can stand for re-election or be re-appointed. Governors are free to resign before the end of their four year term if they so wish.
Whenever there is a vacancy for a parent governor, this is advertised in newsletters and posters, with details on the election process.
Governors are there to make sure the school is being run well and the teaching is of a high standard. Governors are responsible for major decisions about the school and its future. For instance they set the annual budget, and approve targets and policies for the school. They also appoint the headteacher and her senior staff.
While the headteacher is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school, governors look at the bigger picture. Governors are answerable to parents and the local authority for the school’s performance. As well as supporting the school and staff, governors are expected to challenge or question the performance of the headteacher and school, when they consider this necessary.
Governors are involved in dealing with complaints from parents. Parents are encouraged to approach their child’s teacher and/or the Head teacher in the first instance. Governors only become involved when satisfactory resolution of the complaint has not been possible.
Governors don’t need any special qualifications. They just need enthusiasm, commitment, and an interest in contributing to the school. They also need good inter-personal skills, appropriate levels of literacy, sufficient numeracy skills to understand basic data, and a willingness to learn. Training is provided for governors, and experienced governors are expected to act as mentors to new governors when they first join.
To meet legal duties for safeguarding children, all governors have to undergo a DBS check.
Governors spend about 6 hours a month on school matters during school terms. They attend a full governing body meeting once or twice a term, usually at 6.30 pm on a Wednesday evening and lasting for about two hours. Governors are also expected to sit on at least one of the smaller committees which look at specific areas of school life. These committees meet once a term, usually first thing in the morning.
Governors also spend time outside reading papers, visiting the school and attending training. If not chairing the Governing Body or a committee, governors are expected to develop their understanding of one specific area in more depth to act as link governor for that area
Governors are volunteers and don’t get paid. However, they can claim expenses for any costs that they reasonably incur in their role as Governor – such as the cost of paying a childminder so they can attend meetings.