Guidance for Prospective Governors

Many thanks for showing an interest in the role of a governor at Wreake Valley Academy. We are keen to develop as strong and effective a team as possible and are grateful to those members of the wider community who are willing to offer support in this way.

Being a governor is both a rewarding and challenging experience. Governors provide strategic leadership and work in partnership with the Principal and Senior Leaders to ensure that every student gets the best possible education.

The demands on governors and governing boards have changed dramatically in recent years and this guidance has been written to help aspiring governors understand the expectations, commitment and demands of the role.

The Role of the Governing Body

The governing body is responsible for the conduct of the school and must promote high standards of educational achievement at the school. The governing body has a strong focus on three core strategic functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the Principal to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

In order to do this, governors need to gain knowledge of how the school operates through attending meetings, reading documentation provided for them, analysing data and engaging in regular visits to the school.

The role of the governing body is one of oversight and it is not involved in the day to day management of the school. The responsibility for educational performance and operational matters lies with the Principal.

 

How our Governing Body works

Currently the governing body meets on average once a month during term time, as a full board usually on a Monday evening at 6pm. In addition each governor is a member of at least one committee, each committee meets once per half term on either a Tuesday or a Thursday evening at 6pm.  During the meetings governors review the progress and attainment of all year groups, they monitor teaching and learning and the school’s finances through reports and presentations from senior staff, and they use the information gained to assist them to plan strategically for further development of the school.

Meetings usually last between one and half to two hours. Papers for the meeting are sent out in advance for governors to read though prior to the meeting, this may take an hour or more.  There is an expectation that all governors come to the meeting having read the papers and prepared for meaningful discussion on the matters raised within them.

Governors are expected to do much more than merely attending meetings, they are also expected to receive and understand reports from the Senior Leadership Team so that they can question, challenge and support, thereby improving the quality of the whole educational provision. Support is given to governors to assist them with this, in addition all new governors are expected to attend both an induction meeting with the Clerk to Governors and an Induction training course run by Leicestershire Governor Development Service.  Ongoing training is provided throughout the year and governors are expected to use the training to keep up to date with governance issues.

Governors also need first-hand experience of the school and are required to visit the school to meet with staff and students during the working day at least once a year and ideally once a term.

The governing body operates a code of conduct which sets an ethos of professionalism and high expectations of governors.  Should you be elected or appointed as a governor you will be expected to work within it, since a governing body operates as a corporate entity with corporate responsibility.

Skills and Experience

Governing bodies rely on a range of skills and experiences. You will need a strong commitment to the role, the inquisitiveness to question and analyse, and the willingness to learn.  Good inter-personal skills, a basic level of literacy in English and sufficient numeracy skills to understand basic data are essential.  Governors do not necessarily require a background in education as we recognise that there are many transferrable skills from a variety of careers which may benefit the work of the governing body.  What is important is that you have a willingness to learn and undertake whatever training or development is needed to assist you in becoming an effective governor.

In addition to the skills outlined above we are particularly looking for governors with experience in strategic planning or marketing or previous experience of being a board member either in another sector or in another school/academy. A good sense of humour is also a must!

It is also important that governors have the capacity in their lives to create space for governing work. The pace is rapid and governors will need to be able to spare the time to read papers, attend meetings and training and visit the school.

If you would like to find out more or how to apply please contact the Clerk to Governors, Rachael Boyall at clerktogovernors@wvacademy.org  or call 0116 264 1080, who will arrange for you to meet with the Principal for an informal chat about the role.