Governors jointly share the responsibility for the ‘strategic direction of the school’ (Ofsted 2009: The Framework for School Inspection in England from September 2009). Their responsibilities are to:

  • Set the strategic direction, objectives, targets and policies for the school in accordance with current legislation and their instrument of government;
  • Ensure that the school operates in line with its agreed ethos statement and any foundation trust deed;
  • Approve the school budget;
  • Review and evaluate progress against the budget, plans and targets;
  • Act as a critical friend to the headteacher by providing both support and challenge;
  • Be responsible (directly or indirectly) for the appointment, support and professional development of staff.

In an Aided School they also have additional responsibilities for buildings, admissions, health and safety and the employment and dismissal of staff.

All governance is a shared and corporate responsibility in law, ‘first and foremost to provide the best possible environment for children’s learning and development, maintain and improve the standards of the school, respect and involve its parents, provide good governance and value for money’ (Joan Sallis in Foundation Governors in Faith Schools, 2006, Adamson Publishing).

It helps to remember the position of governors. They sit between the school and the community that it serves, with the task of ensuring that the young people of that community are provided with the best possible education within the limits of the available resources.

All governors have a duty to uphold the foundation trust of their school as expressed in the instrument of government of the school. All governors should be given a copy of the instrument of government as soon as they take their place on the governing body.

Useful Contacts

The National Society (For the promotion of Religious Education). The National Society web site offers support and guidance for all Church of England schools, governors and diocesan education teams.

The National Governors Association The NGA is the only independent body representing school governors in England and represents schools governors from all state funded schools; including those from LA maintained schools and academies in England.

The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) Ltd The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) is a national charity that provides advice and information to parents and carers on a wide range of school based matters.

GovernorNet. Has now been decommisioned, but an archive of the site is freely accessible via The National Archives