Guidance and Support
The Governance Support Service will offer guidance and support on all aspects of the governing body's work. Please 01642 837758, or if you are an existing governor, you may contact the Clerk for the governing body on which you serve. Contact details for each Clerk can be found by clicking on Contact the Team on the contents page.
Guidance on common issues can be accessed below:
- School Complaint
- Governor Mark
- Paying Allowances and Expenses to Governors
- Governors' Business Interests
- Questions OFSTED Inspectors May Ask Governors
Governors, particularly parent governors, can be approached with a grievance or complaint against the school. Governors should advise parents to use the agreed complaints procedure adopted by the governing body and should not pursue the complaint on behalf of a parent. A model complaints procedure is available to download below.
School Complaints Procedure (CI)
In some cases, parents may raise general concern about an issue and do not intend to complain formally. It is not good practice to raise such concern at a meeting of the governing body under Any Other Business. Depending on the circumstances it may be appropriate to let the Head Teacher know of the concern and ask him/her to discuss it with the parent. Alternatively, if it is an issue which several parents have commented on it would be advisable to request that the matter be included on the agenda of the next governing body meeting, or an appropriate committee meeting. To do this contact the Chair of Governors, Head Teacher or Clerk to your Governing Body.
Governor Mark is a nationally recognised self-evaluation tool for governing bodies and is based on the criteria for governance previously used by OfSTED. This criteria is recognised as being the finest description of what good governance looks like.
It is a national award developed by three local authorities - Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, through a partnership called GLM (Governance, Leadership and Management) and supported by a number of national organisations. Governor Mark is a kite mark which provides external evaluation of the quality of governance in a school. However, it can also be used as a governing body self-evaluation tool without seeking accreditation. The aim of Governor Mark is to improve the work of the governing body, therefore, contribute to school improvement..
A full copy of the guidance and criteria is available at http://www.glmpartnership.org where the application form and proforma evidence document may also be found
Paying Allowances and Expenses to Governors
The law states that Governing Bodies that have a delegated budget can choose whether or not to pay allowances to governors and associate members of the Governing Body. The Government considers it is good practice for governing bodies to adopt a policy or scheme for paying such allowances, as governors should not be out of pocket for the valuable work they do. The scheme may, for example, include reimbursing governors for expenditure they have occurred in connection with their governance duties for:
- care arrangements for a dependent relative (including childcare and baby sitting)
- telephone charges, photocopying, stationery etc; and travel and subsistence (i.e. reimbursement for meals purchased that would not have otherwise been bought)
This is not an exhaustive list of possible allowances. The scheme must not include payments to cover loss of earnings or for attending meetings. The Governing Body should establish a policy on such payments, which should be reviewed each year.
The Governance Association produced a helpful guide entitled Good Practice in Developing an Allowances Policy for Governing Bodies 2005. A model policy based on this guidance is available to download below.
Model Governors Allowances Policy (CI)
Governors' Business Interests
All governors are required, by law, to declare any business interests that they or their family hold. It also a requirement of the Financial Management Standard in Schools for all schools to have available a Register of Governors Business Interests. Each governor and senior manager in the school must provide information on any business interests that they or their immediate family hold (immediate family being spouse, children and parents). The register is to be kept up to date by notification of changes through an annual review of entries. The register should be kept by the school and must be made available for inspection by governors, staff, parents and the local authority.
There is no official definition of a business interest. As a minimum, the Department for Education (DfE) would expect to see governors register any trade or profession and governors and staff register any direct interest in any company providing goods and services. Although there is no official definition of a direct interest in a company as far as governors are concerned, the guidance for council staff is that a person has a substantial interest if they own shares or other securities in a company with a nominal value of more than £25,000 or more than 1/100th of the issued shares or securities.
The Governance Support Service offers a service whereby they will manage the register of business interests on behalf of a school's governing board, for a minimal charge over and above the main package charge.
There is a standard pro-forma for governors to complete to declare any business interests, dependent on the governance structure. Templates are available to download using the links below:
Declaration of Interest Template - Maintained schools
Declaration of Interest Template - Single Academy Model
Declaration of Interest Template - Local Management Board
Questions OFSTED Inspectors May Ask Governors
Governors often wonder what they might be asked during an Ofsted Inspection. The Clerk to Governors website has been updated to include some sets of questions asked recently in three areas. Please use the link below to access the information gathered:
The School Governor Support Service, in partnership with the School Improvement Service, can deliver an in-house training session on "OfSTED readiness". If you think your governing body may be interested please ask your Chair of Governors to contact Donna Scott on 01642 837758.