St Stephen's Church of England Primary School

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The Role of Governors

Information for Prospective Governors

St Stephen’s CE Primary School are always pleased to talk to anyone who might wish to become a governor even if there is no current vacancy. If you would like more information, please contact the School Office or email

What are Governors?

  • All governors share the responsibility of making the governing body effective and efficient by setting the remit of the body and its committees, being well-informed and attending the meetings.
  • The strength of a governing body lies in its ability to attract and rely upon members from a wide variety of backgrounds, share out the duties amongst its members, and be able to take decisions as a group. No one governor is expected to know it all.
  • No one governor is responsible for the governing body, not even the chairman.

All governors, once appointed:

  • share the responsibilities and work as a team.
  • Individuals are part of the corporate governing body and duties are carried out as part of the team.
  • Governors are not legally liable as individuals.

The role of the school governor is to:

  • support the school, but not uncritically
  • explain its policies to parents and the community, but not blindly
  • watch its standards, but with care, humility and an open mind
  • help settle its disputes fairly and conscientiously
  • oversee its policies and its use of the resources, but not in tiresome detail.”

But you should do these things as a governing body, not as an individual governor, and in all such matters you should act with knowledge and understanding of the school.

From A Working Partnership by Joan Sallis

What we hope you will get out of being a governor

  • the knowledge that you are helping the school and its students.
  • the satisfaction of giving something back to the community
  • a sense of purpose and achievement
  • new skills which may be useful elsewhere
  • broader horizons
  • training and support in order to help you fulfill your duties and responsibilities

What we hope you will be able to offer

  • time (national research shows that most governors give about 20 hours per term to meetings, reading documents, visiting the school and attending training)
  • commitment
  • a willingness to learn
  • a listening ear
  • the ability to assimilate information, make judgements and take decisions
  • tact
  • flexibility
  • ability to work as part of a team


Responsibilities and Expectations

Governing bodies are the strategic planners of schools

In order to do this a governing body:

  • determines aims, policies and priorities which allow the Headteacher the necessary tools to carry out his/her responsibilities
  • sets statutory and non-statutory targets for improvement
  • has an operational manager (the Headteacher) who is responsible for the day to day management of the school acts as the critical friend of the school and Headteacher
  • receives and discusses reports on the resulting practice and conduct of the school

Governors are appointed to provide

  • strong links between the school and the community it serves
  • a wide experience of the outside world
  • an independent view a visible form of accountability for the Headteacher and staff of the school
  • a team focusing on long term development and improvement
  • accountability to the community for the use of resources and the standards of teaching and learning in the school support for the Headteacher and staff.

Governors are responsible for

  • monitoring and evaluating the work of the school
  • appointment of staff and ensuring the implementation of a range of personnel procedures management of the budget
  • securing high levels of attendance and good standards of pupil behaviour
  • ensuring that all children in the schools have access to a broad and balanced curriculum which is suitable to age, aptitude and ability, which prepares them for adult life.
  • ensuring the health and safety of pupils and staff

School governors are expected to

  • attend the regular, special and committee meetings of the governing body
  • get to know the school, its needs, strengths and areas for development, and show an interest in school activities
  • work as a member of the governing body (not as an individual) in the best interests of the school
  • respect all governing body decisions and support them in public.
  • act within the framework of the policies of the governing body and legal requirements.
  • become familiar with the rules of school governance
  • commit to training and development opportunities.

Decisions of the governing body are made in formal meetings, either with the full governing body or in committees.  St Stephens Governing Body meets once every half term.  There are three main committees, Achievement and Partnership, Resources and Steering, which also meet once every half term to report to and aid the work of the governing body