The Governors’ Role

How many Governors?

The Governing Body (GB) has 15 Governors –  5 parents, 1 Local Authority, 1 member of staff, the Headteacher and 7 co-opted members from the local community.  The school can also appoint up to 7 Associate Governors.  A governor’s term of office is normally 4 years but there is no restriction to reappointment.


What are Governors responsible for?

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • Overseeing financial performance and making sure money is well spent


Good Governance means having –

  • governors with the necessary skills, time, commitment, and diversity of perspectives
  • clear separation between strategic and operational roles
  • positive relationships between the GB and school leaders
  • support and advice of an independent professional clerk
  • robust processes for financial planning and oversight
  • processes for regular self-evaluation, skills audit and training


Governor Committees

The Governing Body works through committees to support and challenge the school’s performance.  The full Terms of Reference for these committees are shown in Table 1.

  1. CHAIRS – an overview group made up of the other committee Chairs
  2. PAY & HR – staff pay and conditions; staff performance
  3. TEACHING & LEARNING – quality of teaching, student attainment, curriculum
  4. FINANCE – budget setting and control, contracts
  5. STUDENT DEVELOPMENT – welfare, safeguarding, extra-curricular, e-safety


How does it all work?

  • Each committee normally meets once a term. The full GB meets twice in the autumn term and once in the other two terms.
  • The Clerk to Governors is responsible for convening and minuting meetings, and all papers are stored in a password-protected folder on the school’s website.
  • All Governors are expected to sit on at least one Committee.
  • Each Committee has no fewer than three Governors, one of whom is the Chair or Vice-Chair of the GB, plus the Headteacher (HT) and a designated member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT).
  • Each committee appoints a Chair annually who liaises with the HT and a designated SLT member to plan agendas in conjunction with the Clerk.
  • Associate Governors can attend and participate in meetings of the full GB but are unable to vote. However they do have voting rights on all areas of committee business.
  • Governors may also be invited to assist with other issues such as staff appointments, staff pay, student discipline etc. This is done though ad-hoc committees convened as needed by the Chair of the GB and/or Headteacher.  The roles and composition of these ad-hoc committees are shown in Table 2.


Decision making

The quorum for the GB and for voting on any matter is one half of the actual membership of the GB rounded up to whole number, excluding vacancies.

Every decision is determined by a majority of votes of the Governors present and voting, and the Chair shall have a casting vote in the event of a tie.

The quorum for a meeting of the GB and all Committees is three governors.


Delegation of Powers

  1. The GB empowers the HT to manage the school’s delegated budget and to incur expenditure for the purposes of and up to the amount specified in the approved budget, paying due regard to any agreed thresholds.
  2. The HT is authorised to operate the cheque and credit card account in accordance with the regulations laid down by Dorset County Council.
  3. Virement from one budget heading to another can be undertaken by the HT after consultation and agreement with the Chair of the Finance Committee, subject to any such decisions being reported back, with reasons given, to the GB.
  4. The GB delegates the approval of School Policies to the Committees as appropriate except in circumstances where the approval of the full GB is mandatory eg budget setting.


APPROVED by the Governing Body, September 2019




i)    to initiate strategy and planning discussions

ii)   to consider issues affecting more than one Committee, co-ordinating their activities and delegating issues to them as appropriate.  To receive reports and recommendations from Committees and Working Groups.

iii)  to take decisions on such issues as delegated by the Governing Body.

iv) to monitor the governance arrangements and ensure that the Governing Body complies with best practice.

v)  to approve Policies as delegated by the GB


i)      to make proposals for budget allocations and thresholds for the financial year and 2 following financial years

ii)    to monitor expenditure throughout the year against the approved budget to make proposals on policy for virement

iii)   to report to the Governing Body giving an indication of the financial state of affairs, including delegated and unofficial funds

iv)  to advise on other financial matters not covered above

v)    to ensure there is proper internal control of all financial activities within the school

vi)  to ensure all annual financial returns as required by DCC are properly completed

vii) to approve Policies as delegated by the GB


i)      to monitor the quality of the teaching and support measures to improve it having regard to the National Teachers’ Standards and in relation to the schools’ exam results.

ii)    to work with the Headteacher and staff in producing any School Curriculum Policy Statements and the school and staff development plans in relation to curriculum matters.

iii)   to recognise any constraints or lack of resources which might prevent the school following national and county guidelines.

iv)  to monitor the delivery of the school curriculum in the context of the National Curriculum and the Dorset Curriculum Policy.

v)    to be aware of parental opinion on curricular issues and explain school policy on these matters where appropriate

vi)  to approve Policies as delegated by the GB.


i)      to have delegated authority to act on behalf of the Governing Body in all matters relating to pay and personnel as required.  This would normally include matters relating to management, staff dismissal, variations of terms and conditions, grievance, discipline and competence.

ii)    to receive from the Headteacher the report on the annual staff appraisal process and the staff salary review.

iii)   to amend the Pay and Staff Appraisal Policies as necessary.

iv)  to review the pay of the Headteacher and Leadership Team annually.

v)    to establish a Pay sub-committee to determine staff pay in accordance with the Pay Policy.

vi)  to approve Policies as delegated by the GB


i)      to monitor students’ overall personal development and well-being

ii)    to monitor student behaviour and attendance (including racism & bullying)

iii)   to promote extra-curricular and extended learning opportunities

iv)  to encourage students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (includes Citizenship & PSHE curriculum)

v)    to approve Policies as delegated by the Governing Body

vi)  to monitor progress of pupil premium students and those of vulnerable groups

vii) to ensure safeguarding arrangements are in order



Terms of Reference Composition

To review staff pay annually in accordance with the requirements of the Pay Policy.

Three Governors not including a staff Governor.

To receive and adjudicate on pay appeals in accordance with the school’s Pay Policy (3rd Stage Appeal Hearing)

Two governors but not to include any governors involved in the original determination of Pay.

to act on behalf of the governing body in all matters relating to the appointment of staff.

A non-teaching Governor will be invited to assist the Headteacher in the appointment of senior staff.  The appointment of the Headteacher must involve at least 3 Governors, and the appointment must be confirmed by the full Governing Body.

At least one governor should have completed Safer Recruitment training (on-line).


to act on behalf of the governing body in all matters relating to the discipline of staff, and the variation or termination of their contracts.

Three governors not including the Headteacher or a staff governor.

To consider the exclusion of a student, having regard for the Secretary of State’s guidance on exclusions.

Three or more governors, one of who shall be the Chair or Vice Chair, but not including the Headteacher.

To consider an appeal against the exclusion of a student.

No less than four governors (and always one more than served on the Student Disciple Committee immediately preceding) one of whom shall be the Chair or Vice Chair.  Those eligible shall be all governors other than teacher governors, the Head teacher and those who have served on the Student Discipline Committee immediately preceding the Appeals Committee.

to monitor the condition of the school premises and advise on improvements

At least three governors.  All governors eligible.

(Committee in obeyance pending completion of the Purbeck Review and associated building refurbishment projects)


To consider all matters relating to admissions.

The Headteacher and at least two other governors.

(Committee in obeyance pending review of the PAN)