So, who governs?

16th May 2008 at 01:00
How many school governors are there in England? - Government estimates suggest between 235,000 and 350,000 posts, of which 11 per cent are vacant
How many school governors are there in England?

Government estimates suggest between 235,000 and 350,000 posts, of which 11 per cent are vacant.

Who are governors?

Parents, staff, representatives of the community and the local authority or church, as well as academy or trust school sponsors.

What are they ultimately responsible for?

Standards, premises, health and safety, financial and staffing management. They should review the curriculum and exclusions, help set strategic direction as well as ensure accountability and act as a critical friend to the head.

What does a good governor do?

They are often involved in the school improvement plan and in gathering information from school leadership, staff and pupils. Those with business experience are often useful in managing pay and performance of headteachers.

What about the bad governors?

Ofsted says in "inadequate" schools, governors failed to hold heads to account. Fourteen per cent of heads say their governing body is ineffective because of a lack of skills. Some governors don't even attend meetings.

Is there evidence that headteachers are more prone to fraud than other professions?

The General Teaching Council found five heads guilty of financial impropriety last year and one of serious professional incompetence. More were disciplined for offences such as drunk driving. There are 22,500 heads in local authority-maintained schools in England. By comparison, the General Medical Council found 58 doctors guilty of fraud in the past year, out of a workforce of 244,000.

Source: DCSFPricewaterhouse CoopersGTCNGA.

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