Local Governing Bodies
All Milton Keynes Education Trust (MKET) schools have their own Local Governing Body (LGB) which is in effect a committee of the Board of Directors and as such is accountable to the Trust.
The school is accountable to its LGB, which in turn is accountable to parents and the community. A Local Governing Body has elected parent and staff representatives and the Trust appoints additional governors. The Trust uses these posts to cover skills gaps in the LGB, hence these posts are often filled by people from the business or not for profit community.
The Value of School Governance
LGBs make decisions which are in the best interests of the children and young people at the school. Keeping the decision making as close as possible to those that are affected by the decisions makes for sound and efficient leadership and governance. Fulfilling the role of a school governor is, therefore, both a serious undertaking and enormously rewarding. Not only do governors bring their own knowledge and skills to the role, but, in learning how schools are run, they often develop their understanding of leadership. The majority of employers appreciate this and are supportive of their staff taking on the responsibility. In addition, contributing to the growth and development of a school and seeing tangible improvements in the attainment and wellbeing of the children and young people is a satisfying and important contribution to the local community.
The Role of the Local Governing Body
The Local Governing Body is responsible for the conduct of its school, and must promote high standards of educational achievement at the school. It is the school’s accountable body and as such within MKET’s overall aims and policy framework it:
Sets the strategic direction of the school by:
- setting the values, aims and objectives for the school
- agreeing the policy framework for achieving those aims and objectives
- setting key performance indicators
- agreeing the school improvement strategy, which includes approving the budget and agreeing the staffing structure
Challenges and supports the school by monitoring, reviewing and evaluating:
- the implementation and effectiveness of the policy framework
- progress towards targets
- the implementation and effectiveness of the school improvement strategy
- the budget and the staffing structure
Ensures accountability by:
- signing off Self Evaluation Reports
- responding to school improvement and Ofsted reports when necessary
- holding the Principal/Headteacher to account for the performance of the school
- ensuring parents and pupils are involved, consulted and informed as appropriate
- making available information to the community
The day-to-day leadership and management of the school is the sole responsibility of the headteacher supported by the Senior Leadership team.
In order to fulfil their role governors need to gain knowledge of how their school operates through training, by attending meetings, and by getting to know their school community, for example through visits to the school during the school day.
Governors need to work together as a team, under the leadership of the Chair of the local governing body. Governors are required to sign and adhere to a code of conduct.
LGBs are required to meet formally a minimum of three times a year, i.e. once a term. Meeting dates are usually set well in advance and meetings usually last up to two hours. Governors need to be well prepared for these meetings and attendance is expected, with apologies only for good reasons.
In addition to full governing body meetings there are two committees which also meet termly:
- learning, teaching and student welfare, and
- resources, finance and facilities
Committees and/or working groups meet between the governing body meetings. Governors will be expected to play a full role in all aspects of governance by volunteering to fulfil specific roles, such as being the Special Educational Needs governor, Health and Safety governor or the link governor for a particular year or subject. Most governors arrange a couple of day or half day visits to the school focusing on key priorities so that they can see how the school is addressing issues identified for development or improvement. In addition, informal visits to special events such as drama productions, sports day and Open Morning are encouraged.
Skills and Training
Governors do not need specific skills, but many of the tasks they are required to undertake can benefit from general business knowledge such as understanding management systems, budget planning and HR functions.
MKET provides an induction programme for new governors and on-going training (which may include online learning) to ensure all governors are properly trained for the role and specific tasks such as carrying out the headteacher’s performance review.
Support for Governors
Each local governing body has a clerk who both advises and services the governing body. MKET has an expenses policy which covers out of pocket costs, including those incurred caring for dependents. Loss of earnings is not covered, but employers are required to release employees in order for them to conduct their governor role. Release may, however, be unpaid.