We hope that parents and other visitors to the Balfour School website will use these pages to find out more about the governors, their interests, responsibilities and what they are doing to lead and support the school.
The governing body is responsible for three main areas:
- the strategic direction of the school;
- the accountability of the school to its stakeholders;
- monitoring and evaluating the quality of the school’s provision.
It has a number of statutory responsibilities, most of them falling within one of these three areas. In particular, it is responsible for supporting the school in providing a learning and teaching environment that safeguards children, promotes their well-being and encourages high expectation and achievement, as well as for setting the school’s statutory policies, and monitoring them in operation.
The governing body works at all times in close collaboration with the headteacher, who is himself a governor of the school. He is responsible and accountable to the governing body, for the day-to-day management of the school and all operational matters. He obtains approval from the governing body for matters of school policy.
At present, the full governing body meets a number of times in the school year:
- in September, to elect its chair and vice-chair, plan its work for the year, and receive updates;
- at least monthly during term time
The Governing Body has moved to a committee-less structure with each meeting having a particular focus.
At present, each governor takes an interest in at least one area of the school’s work such as special educational needs and disabilities; early years, equality and extended services and community cohesion.
The clerk to the governing body arranges (in conjunction with the headteacher and the relevant chair) and publishes the agendas for meetings of the governing body and all its committees, and prepares and circulates minutes of all meetings. They also circulates training opportunities for governors, and advises governors on legal and procedural matters.
New governors are elected for a four-year period; they are given a mentor and an induction programme, and attend training specially arranged for new governors.
Getting involved at your child's school: Becoming a parent governor
One way to get involved at your child's school is to become a parent governor. If you are interested then you can contact the clerk to the governing body to find out when there will be a vacancy. You can also let the headteacher know of your interest because there may be other types of vacancies on the governing body.
When a parent governor vacancy exists the Clerk to the Governors writes to all parents asking for nominations. If the school receives more than one nomination a ballot is held and parents are invited to vote for their preferred candidate. Once appointed the Clerk to the Governors provides the new governor with an information pack and an introduction to another governor who acts as a mentor.
Being a governor is a challenging and rewarding role for anyone who wants to help children do better at school, cares about the education children receive, and wants to strengthen links between schools and their community.
What qualifications do governors need?
There are no formal qualifications. Schools need volunteers with experience of life. The one essential requirement is an interest in, and commitment to, the education of children. Governors are ordinary people, drawn from many areas of society. They need to be able to devote time to getting to know the school well and be available to support and challenge it.
A governor must be a good listener, and someone who is able to read and take in information easily. A governor must be able to:
- raise questions and take part in discussion and decision-making
- be discreet, open minded and fair
- be a source of ideas and a good communicator
- be enthusiastic about the work of the school
- be prepared to work as part of a team.
There are, however, selection criteria. To view these please click on the word document in the panel on the left.
Length of Service
The usual term of office is four years. However, governors are volunteers who can leave at any time and can similarly be re-appointed or re-elected.
Support for Governors
A great deal of professional advice and support is available to help governors with their duties and responsibilities.
- The local authority provide a comprehensive induction programme.
- Governors are also supported by the headteacher, the chair of governors and senior staff.
- National Governor organisations run by governors for governors, including a wide range of advice and guidance for governors online.
- There is a national governor telephone helpline: 0800 722 181
Contact the Governors
Should you wish to find out more about the work of the governing body with a view to becoming a governor, or if you have any concerns or suggestions to make, then please use one or more of the methods below for contacting us. We are always happy to hear from parents and will do our best to respond quickly to your contact.
Please remember that Governors deal with the strategic aspects of the school, not the operational. So if you have a concern about something operational (for instance, concens with your child not making progress with his current teacher or litter on the playground) you will need to speak to the Headteacher.
Informal contact : If you would like to have an informal chat with any of the governors, please contact the School office with your phone number or email address and they will arrange for a governor to contact you. Any such contact remains informal, as governors are not able to act individually but will always have to refer your comments on to the Chair and the whole governing body.
Parent governors: You may also be able to find a parent governor in the playground either before or after school and you are welcome to approach them informally with suggestions, comments or concerns. They will listen to any issues you raise and refer your comments on as above. However, they will arrange to contact you again to let you know what is being done. If you are not sure who the parent governors are select 'Who's Who' on the bar to the left.
Chair of Governors: You can write to the Chair of Governors through the school office. Office staff will ensure the Chair receives your letter and she will acknowledge your letter immediately followed by a considered response either in person, by phone, by email or by letter - whichever is the most appropriate. Alternatively you may pass your phone number or email address onto the office and they will arrange for the Chair of Governors to contact you. If the Chair of Governors is unavailable the Vice Chair will act for the Chair in her absence.
Parent Consultations: We try to make sure that there is governor representation at each parent consultation evening so they can greet parents on their arrival at the school and engage in a dialogue with them.