Structure of the Local Governing Committee
Instrument of Governance
The Local Governing Committee is made of:
- 6 Foundation Governors
- 1 Parent Governor
- 1 Staff Governor
- 1 Headteacher Governor
Also on the Governing Body are:
- 1 Associate Member - School Finance Manager
- 1 Associate Member - Deputy Headteacher
Types of Governor
Parent Governors: these are elected by parents of the children at the school - or they may be appointed by the governing body if no-one stands for election.
Foundation Governors: are appointed by the Bishop of Brentwood Diocese.
Staff Governors: these are elected by the staff at the school and may cover both teaching and non-teaching staff.
The Headteacher: is a governor at their own school by right.
Associate Members: are not governors, and do not have a vote at full governing body meetings. However, they are entitled to attend those meetings and to be sent the papers for them.
What do governors do?
The role of a Governor within a multi academy trust is an important one. In developing a governance structure, the Trust has sought to ensure that as much as possible the responsibility to govern is vested in those closest to the impact of decision making and that such responsibility matches the capacity of those assuming responsibility.
The Trust Board has established Local Governing Committees for each of the Academies, for the most part made up of individuals drawn from the Academy’s community, both as elected and appointed members, with an emphasis on appropriate skills and experience.
The Governors serving on such Local Governing Committees are accountable to the Trust Board (which in turn of course is accountable to the Bishop, the Members and to the Department for Education) as well as to the communities they serve.
Whilst not trustees under charity law, nevertheless, the Governors are under a duty to act in good faith and in the best interests of the Academy and the Trust, which includes all the Academies. This duty includes a responsibility to do the following:
- to ensure the Academy complies with its legal obligations
- to fulfil the charitable object of the Trust
- to act with integrity and to avoid any personal conflicts of interest and not to misuse any charitable funds or assets of the Academy or the Trust
- to act prudently in the financial management of the Academy, avoiding putting any assets, funds or reputation of the Academy or the Trust at undue risk
- to exercise reasonable care and skill, using personal knowledge and experience to ensure the Academy is well run and efficient
- to act responsibly, getting advice from others from within the Trust and if appropriate external professional advisors
- to act as an ambassador of the Trust and in a way which is consistent with the vision and values of the Trust.
Governors must act independently and in the best interest of the Academy even if those interests conflict with those of the body or organisation that might have appointed or nominated them to serve on the Local Governing Committee.
Governors must comply with the Trust’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
The specific tasks and responsibilities of the Governors are as follows:
- to fulfil the vision and ethos of the Trust in so far as it relates to the Academy, ensuring that the Academy achieves the aims and ambitions it has for its pupils, having regard in particular to the benefits of being part of a family of Catholic schools which stresses the importance of collaboration and mutual support
- to implement and review from time to time the strategic plan for the Academy (including any initial Action Plan), focussing on the Academy’s performance and achieving sustained school improvement and having regard to any locally agreed priorities identified by the Headship team
- to act as a critical friend to the Academy’s senior Headship team, being ready to challenge and hold senior leaders to account for all aspects of the Academy’s performance
- to oversee the management of the finances of the Academy, assessing the annual budget prepared by the Academy’s Headteacher (with the support of the Academy’s senior Headship team) and submitting such for approval by the Trust Board, ensuring that the Academy works within its budget and the Academy’s senior Headship team adopts and implements appropriate risk and financial management policies and practices including in particular any adopted by the Trust Board for application across all the Academies
- to support the Academy’s Headteacher in the development and review (from time to time) of an appropriate staffing structure for the Academy, ensuring there is robust and accountable monitoring of the performance of staff and implementing all and any policies relating to staff adopted by the Trust Board
- to support the Trust Board in its monitoring and evaluation of the delivery of any central or shared services and functions provided or procured by the Trust for the Academies, reporting any issues or concerns to the Central Team and, if necessary, the Chair of the Trust Board
- to promote the benefits of collaboration with the other Academies and to actively seek opportunities to work together either with the aim of improving economic efficiencies within the Academies or identifying and implementing best practice
- to develop effective links within the Academy’s community, communicating openly and frequently as appropriate and ensuring that the Academy meets its 18 responsibilities to the community and the Diocese and serves the community’s needs in relation to the safeguarding and education of its pupils
- to engage fully and openly with any inspection of the Academy, whether by the Trust Board, the Diocese, Ofsted or any other appropriate public body to whom the Academy is accountable.
Individual Governors may be given primary responsibility for particular functions such as standards, finance, premises and resources with the view to matching skills and experience to functions. This will not affect collective and overall individual responsibility but Governors are expected to use their skills and experience in the fulfilment of their duties.
The following are the core competencies and skills expected of all Governors:
- to work as a team
- to attend meetings and be prepared to contribute to discussions and commit to agreed actions
- to be respectful of the views of others and to be open to new ideas and thoughts
- to treat all confidential information confidentially
- to develop a deep understanding of the vision and ethos of the Trust and its Academies and the roles played by all individuals in fulfilment of the Trust’s mission
- to understand the policies and procedures of the Trust and how these flow down to the Academy
- to support the Trust in public and act as an ambassador of the Trust and the Academy and Catholic education more generally
- to commit to training and skills development
- to be ready to ask questions
- to be focussed on problem solving and be ready to learn from past experiences.
Specific skills may be needed if a Governor is to take responsibility for and lead on a specific area. A regular skills audit will be undertaken and Governors should expect to be able to articulate their contribution to the success of the Academy.