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Governing Body Roles and Responsibilities

The governing body must hold at least three meetings in every school year.

Governing body meetings are not open to the public by right.  It is for the governing body to decide each year whether anyone who is not a governor may attend meetings, visitors should be asked to withdraw if confidential (Part 2) items are to be discussed.  If open meetings are agreed, it is advisable for the governing body to agree an open meeting protocol.

Copies of the agenda, the approved minutes and papers for each meeting must be made available for inspection at the school by any interested person.  The only exception is for Part 2 items, which the governing body has decided should remain confidential.

Decisions should only be taken by a committee, or by an individual with delegated power, or at a governors' meeting.  However, there may be times when a decision is so urgent that there is no time to call a meeting.  If a delay would seriously harm a person or the school, the chair or vice-chair has the power to take a decision on behalf of the governing body.  If neither is available, the headteacher can act as necessary and must seek the governing body's retrospective approval as soon as possible.  Any such decision must be reported back to the next full meeting of the governors.
All boards, whether in the maintained or academy sector and no matter how many schools they are responsible for, have three core functions:

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

The role of the governing body is to:

  • set the strategic direction, vision and ethos of the school
  • monitor and challenge the progress of the school in achieving its priorities
  • recruit and performance manage the headteacher
  • exercise employer responsibility
  • ensure the school(s) meet its statutory responsibilities
  • ensure financial probity
  • ensure the premises are well managed and
  • report to the school's stakeholders.

Safeguarding and Child Protection in Schools

Keeping children safe in education
Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment.
Revised guidance effective September 2019.

This is statutory guidance from the Department of Education issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2020, the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014, and the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 and colleges in England must have regard to it when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  For the purposes of this guidance children includes everyone under the age of 18.

This statutory guidance should be read and followed by:

  • governing bodies of maintained schools (including maintained nursery schools) and colleges;
  • proprietors of independent schools (including academies, free schools and alternative provision academies) and non-maintained special schools.  In the case of academies, free schools and alternative provision academies, the proprietor will be the academy trust; and
  • management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs).  The above persons should ensure that all staff in their school or college read at least Part one of this guidance.  The above persons should ensure the mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their role and responsibilities as set out in Part one of this guidance.

Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership

Surrey County Council - Schools and Learning Education safeguarding, policies, procedures and guidance

Statutory Nominated Governor Roles

Statutory Appointments
Governor responsible for liaison with LA in the event of allegation (Child Protection) against Headteacher (check the school’s Child Protection Policy)

Highly Recommended
Nominated governors with responsibility for:

Child Protection/Safeguarding
Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND)
Looked after Children (LAC)

Other Appointments
Governors to agree School Development Plan (SDP) priority areas for monitoring and allocation of roles

Aided Schools
Honorary Treasurer

For more information please contact the Governance Services Team

Tel: Governance Services Team 0800 073 4444 (option 1 followed by option 6 for Governance & HLTA)

Email the team
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