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Is your governing body up to speed?;Briefing;Governors;Matters arising

Jane Martin offers tips on how to maximise your efforts

THE FIRST meeting of the year should have taken place. Are structures and processes clear? The chair should have been re-elected, along with the vice-chair, at the first full meeting, this should be through secret ballot in line with the new regulations.

The role of vice-chair is often a non-job - it is worth thinking about how yours could share the chair's burden (some governing bodies run co chairships.) You could draw up a job description.

Following reconstitution of the governing body, Instruments of Government should be checked. Were all new governor elections carried out in time for your first meeting? If you haven't done so, scout for nominations for co-optees or the new "partnership" governors, asking each for a brief CV.

Also check other positions - training link governor, literacy, numeracy and SEN governor. Could you be bold and invite governors to swap jobs or have some shadows to encourage recruits to work alongside old hands?

Is the committee structure working? Remember you should have the newly required statutory committees. Each committee should be bringing its terms of reference up to date - now an annual requirement. Ask each committee to suggest any amendments or additions in time for the next full meeting. Delegated powers must be agreed by the full body.

Make sure all governors are on sub-committees and attend: committee membership gives all governors a chance to contribute.

Jane Martin is a fellow in education

research at Birminghan University

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