The purposes of having a governing body are:
• To help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement;
• To keep the pressure up on school improvement;
• To be a critical friend to the school, offering the school its support and advice;
• To help the school to be responsive to the needs of parents and the community and make the school accountable to the public for what it does;
• To work with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping the school under review;
• To exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the Head teacher and staff;
• Not to intervene in the day-to-day management of the school, unless there are weaknesses in the school, when they then have a duty to take action.
A school's governing body is a corporate body. This means that it has a legal existence separate from that of its individual members. As long as governors have acted honestly, without ulterior motive, and reasonably, within the law and regulations, they cannot be held to account as individuals for any liabilities incurred by the governing body.
Being a school governor
No special qualifications are needed to become a school governor. However, if you take on this role, you will need to be interested in the work of schools, their teachers and pupils. You should also have enthusiasm for education processes.
Governors can be:
• Parents - elected by parents with children on the school roll
• Members of staff - elected by staff at the school
• Appointees of Tameside Borough Council
• Appointees of an organisation or foundation, such as the Church
• Co-opted governors - appointed by the governing body to represent the school and wider community
• Partnership governors (in foundation schools only) - nominated by parents and members of the community
The way in which governors are appointed or elected varies with each category. However, once appointed, all governors have the same rights, powers and responsibilities.