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Matters arising

Jane Martin takes her monthly look at the role of governors

MUCH is said about the strategic role of the governing body - what does this mean?

Planning - what do we want to do, how are we going to do it and what resources do we need?

Monitoring - are we doing what we said we would do?

Evaluation - is it working? How do we know?

Review - what revisions should we make to our plans?

Think of it as an annual cycle, usually ending in autumn. Different aspects of work may have different cycles. Summer is a good time to ensure appropriate monitoring systems.

Are you monitoring:

Special education needs code of practice - a role for the SEN governor and SEN co-ordinator.

Literacy and numeracy - relevant governors should be working with curriculum coordinators.

Health and safety - committee needs to ensure risk assessments are carried out as per education authority health and safety policy.

School improvement plan priorities - usually discussed in curriculum committee but oten an agenda item at a full meeting.

School budget and resource management - at least termly reports to finance committee.

Use of the home-school agreement - try parent andor teacher surveys to check effectiveness.

Governors only have to ensure monitoring takes place, not do it themselves. A lot will be covered in the headteacher's report or discussed in committee. Governors need to ensure delegation and reporting systems are in place.

Nevertheless, monitoring systems should help governors develop a working knowledge of the school, via links with school staff and planned school visits.

Check monitoring systems:

Do you have different monitoring processes and do reports come from a range of sources?

Do governors understand all the data - particularly statistics?

Do governors ask appropriate but challenging questions of reports - especially about the links between resources, targets, priorities and performance?

Does monitoring lead to evaluation of progress made?

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