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Delegation is key for governors right now, writes Jane Martin

ALL governing bodies must carry out an annual review of committee membership and terms of reference which should now be considered in accordance with new Terms of Reference Regulations, effective from September 1.

A good idea is to set up a working party of existing committee chairs to begin this year's review, or ask each committee to consider their own review and bring recommendations to the full governing body for agreement.

Key principles set out in the regulations, which establish more clearly the respective roles of the governing body and headteacher, should also be used for deciding what decision-making powers to delegate to committee.

The governing body must act as a corporate body and be prepared to explain its decisions and actions. It needs to know, therefore, what is being carried out on its behalf.

The role and function of the governing body is strategic and it must set school aims, policies and targets for achieving them, and monitor and evaluate progress with advice from the headteacher.

The head, as "lead professional", is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school, advising on implementing the strategic framework. He or she will formulate aims, objectives, policies and targets and report on progress at lest once a year.

Central to this working relationship between governors and head is the role of the governing body as a critical friend - providing advice and support but also offering constructive criticism in the interests of improvement. The headteacher and staff are accountable to the governing body for the school's performance.

Governors and headteachers should collaborate on developing key policies, in particular for the school curriculum and performance management - which needs to be in place no later than December 31.

The governing body should decide which of its responsibilities it wishes to delegate to a committee, individual or the headteacher and clearly prescribe how these are to be carried out. The headteacher must comply with any reasonable direction by the governing body. However, some responsibilities cannot be delegated.

Department for Education and Employment guidance (accompanied by a helpful planner) suggests three levels at which delegated decision-making should be made and recommends that many decisions will be delegated to the headteacher within the strategic framework set by the governing body.

Delegated responsibilities must be clearly recorded. Where appropriate, good management information must be provided to the governing body so they

know how responsibilities are


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