The work of the Governing Body
The Headteacher, Leadership Team and the Governors have a relentless focus on raising achievement for all students in the school – OFSTED 2014
Governors systematically pursue excellence along with the headteacher and senior leaders. Governors are passionate about the school. They know the school very well because of the regular visits governors make to support leaders in monitoring and tracking the quality of learning – OFSTED 2014
A school’s Governing Body is there to provide oversight of the management and operation of the school. The governors help the school take a strategic view of its activities and bring experience and expertise from other walks of life into the school. This section will tell you how the school’s governance is structured, who the governors are, how they are appointed and elected, what they do, what their legal duties are and how you can contact them or seek to get involved as a governor yourself. A school’s Governing Body is there to provide oversight of the management and operation of the school. The governors help the school take a strategic view of its activities and bring experience and expertise from other walks of life into the school. This section will tell you who the governors are, how they are appointed and elected, what they do, what their legal duties are and how you can contact them or seek to get involved as a governor yourself.
How is the Governing Body structured?
Beaumont School is an Academy, which is a company limited by guarantee and registered in the UK with company number 8104190. There are two tiers of governance:
- Members – They have rights and powers under company law similar to those of shareholders in a company limited by shares. Under Beaumont’s company documents, each governor is a Member of the Academy Trust company. Members of the academy trust do not have rights of ownership in the company like shareholders because the profits of the company cannot be distributed to them. However, the members can control changes in the constitution (subject to DfE approval) and other fundamental decisions relating to the Academy Trust. Members also have the right to remove a governor by ordinary resolution (a vote passed by a simple majority of members).
- The Directors and Trustees of the Company are the governors, responsible for the strategic direction of the school. Governors have the same legal duties and responsibilities as company directors, and also duties under charity law as charity trustees.
As all governors are required to be directors of the Academy Trust company, individuals who have been disqualified from acting as directors cannot be governors.
The Memorandum and Articles of Association for Beaumont School can be found at this link. The Memorandum is the document that originally set up the Academy Trust company and the Articles of Association set out how the Academy Trust company is run, governed and owned.
What does the Governing Body do?
The Governing Body does not run the school. That is the job of the Headteacher and the Leadership Team. Rather, the governors provide independent oversight of the school and how it is run. The school is required to report to the governors on various aspects of management and planning and, by acting as ‘critical friends’, the governors can give the school an invaluable sounding board.
Some aspects of the governors’ role in the school are laid down by law. For example, the governors are required to approve the school budget, as well as the school’s targets for progress and attainment in GCSE and other public exams. In addition, if the school decides to exclude a pupil permanently, that decision has to be reviewed by an independent panel of governors.
Major strategic decisions of the school also have to be approved by the governors. Recent examples at Beaumont have been the decisions to convert to Academy Status and to increase the school’s PAN from September 2018.
Such decisions often start with a recommendation from the Headteacher and are then examined in detail by the governors prior to a final decision. In some cases, as with the conversion to Academy status in July 2012 and the decision to increase the PAN (taken in November 2016), the governors consulted parents, staff, students and other stakeholders as part of the decision-making process.
What sort of people are Governors?
The governors are all volunteers and the role is part-time. Most governors have full-time jobs elsewhere. One of the major benefits of the Governing Body is that the governors are all able to bring experience and expertise from vastly different walks of life to bear on their work with the school. This can help the school take a more creative and strategic approach to management, problem-solving and long-term strategic planning.
The current Governing Body includes governors with experience in accountancy, education, engineering, law, policy analysis, science, human resources, marketing, management, financial services and business systems.
According to a Government publication, more people in the UK today come forward to be school governors than for any other volunteer activity.
View the governing body biographies here.
How are the governors elected or appointed?
There are a number of different routes onto the Governing Body. At Beaumont, the Governing Body is made up of:
- Seven Parent Governors: elected by parents of pupils at the school;
- Seven Staff Governors: the Headteacher and any Deputy Headteacher(s) are ex-officio staff governors (i.e. governors due to their positions) on the Governing Body and the remaining staff governors are members of the teaching and essential services staff elected by their colleagues; and
- Seven Community Governors: volunteers from the wider community, appointed by the Governing Body.
In addition to the governors listed above, members of the Leadership Team at the school, attend meetings of the Governing Body’s sub-committees. The Governing Body also invites students to attend meetings, enabling the students’ voice to be heard loud and clear at governors’ meetings.
It is important to note that, although governors are elected and appointed in a variety of different ways, once they have joined the Governing Body, they are all equal. They are all free to involve themselves in any aspect of the Governing Body’s work, regardless of how they became governors. Moreover, they do not represent their particular ‘constituency’. The parent governors, for example, have no particular role to represent the parents. Rather, it is the Governing Body as a whole which reports to the parent body, and all governors must act in the objective best interests of the school.
All governors (except the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher(s), whose positions are ex officio) serve a four-year term, at the end of which they may stand for re-election or re-appointment. There is no limit to the number of terms a governor may serve. When a parent governor’s term ends, an announcement is made about an election and all parents or carers of pupils at the school are eligible to stand.
The Chair and Vice-Chair of Governors are elected by the Full Governing Body at its first meeting of each school year. The current Chair of Governors is Alex Hall, and the Vice-Chair is Alison Wallis.
How is the work of the governors organised?
The full Governing Body meets five times in each academic year. Much of the ‘leg-work’ of the governors is carried out by its two principal committees. These are:
- Resources; and
- Community, Teaching and Learning.
The Governing Body also forms working parties to consider specific issues, where necessary.
The detail of the work that is carried out by the committees is set out in formal terms of reference which are approved by the Governing Body each year. A copy of the current terms of reference can be found at this link.
The dates of the full Governing Body and committee meetings for the current academic year can be found at this link.
Minutes of the Full Governing Body are made available once they have been approved. Click here to access the minutes.
The Resources Committee
The Resources Committee focuses on Beaumont’s budget, staffing of the school, school buildings and plans for the future. The Committee looks at both the maintenance of the existing buildings and seeks to develop plans to improve those facilities.
A key current focus for the Resources Committee is fundraising and the development of the school’s facilities: plans for a new Science Building and a Performing Arts Centre are currently being developed.
The current Chair of the Resources Committee is Rena Prindiville.
The Community, Teaching and Learning (CTL) Committee
This Committee reviews the development and delivery of the curriculum at Beaumont. It advises on specialist school status and monitors the quality of teaching and learning at the school as well as progress with the CTL aspects of the Plan for School Improvement.
The Governing Body has a specific role in relation to public examinations. It conducts a thorough review of the school’s performance in public examinations each year. It then recommends the targets for performance in future years against which the school is measured. Related to this, the Committee reviews the various exam options available to pupils: GCSEs, BTECs, and A Levels. More widely, it is interested in exploring ways to enhance the personal thinking and learning skills of all students at Beaumont (through programmes such as Beaumont Skills for Success) to enhance their educational and academic development during their time at the school.
The Committee also has a wide-ranging role to look at the links between Beaumont and the local St Albans community. The Committee focuses on communication within the school community – between students, their families and staff – and on the well-being of students and staff. Its remit includes monitoring the support available for disadvantaged students with special educational needs and those eligible for pupil premium support; and the impact of that support. It also monitors safeguarding at the school.
The current Chair of the Resources Committee is Lisanne Sherwood.
As well as the three main committees above, there are a number of other working parties, groups, or panels that meet on an occasional basis (for example: the Appointments Panel; the Pay Group (which oversees appraisals and staff pay); and the Discipline Panel).
Reports about the work of the governors, both that of the Full Governing Body and the three committees, will appear in each edition of the school’s newsletter, Beaumont Life. These will provide updates on the current issues being discussed.
Contacting the governors
You may contact the governors and the Chair of Governors via the school office on 01727 854726 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that a family wishing to raise any issue about their child at the school should, in the first instance, contact their child’s form tutor.
We are proactive in considering the additional expertise we need to attract to the Governing Body. We will always need high calibre governors to develop even further the excellence of Beaumont School. So, if you would like to help us or know of someone in the community who may be interested, we would be very happy to hear from you. Please send details of background and skills, in writing, to the Chair of Governors at Beaumont School.