Church schools at their best offer a vision to what it is to grow to full humanity.
(The Way Ahead, Church Schools in the New Millennium, 2001)
The Board of Education is committed to helping schools to continually strengthen their effectiveness and distinctiveness as Church of England Schools. Governors, headteachers and school leadership teams play a central role in securing high standards and in ensuring that every young person within a school can enjoy ‘life in all its fullness’.
Whilst the governing bodies role is largely strategic, a strong, well-led governing body, supportive of the school, its staff and its mission makes an important contribution to the school’s well-being and effectiveness. Working closely with governors and senior colleagues, it is the headteacher’s job to create a shared vision and plan for the school that inspires students, teachers and the whole school community to give and achieve their best. Headteachers and principals are both the spiritual and academic leaders of their schools or academies.
Academies & School Organisation
|Appointing a Head Teacher – Guidance for Governors (March 2016)||Support for Headteachers||Academy conversion
Voluntary controlled and aided schools
All Voluntary Aided, Foundation and Academy schools are their own admissions authorities and must set, consult on and determine admissions arrangements. We recommend that this is done annually.
All admissions arrangements are subject to the Department for Education Admissions and School Appeals Codes and all governors should ensure they are familiar with these documents.
Important changes – DBS checks now mandatory for governors
Following the publication of the new School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 it is now mandatory for all governors at maintained schools to apply for an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.
With effect from 1 April 2016 all newly appointed or elected governors in maintained schools must apply for an enhanced DBS check within 21 days of their election or appointment.
Serving governors, who do not already have an enhanced DBS check, need to have one in place by 1 September 2016.
The goverance of Church of England schools
Church Schools were established in a tradition of Christian commitment to education to serve local communities or parishes. The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 has underwritten the continued opportunity for church schools to hold their place in the state system in three forms, either as Voluntary Aided, Voluntary Controlled or Foundation schools.
Unlike Voluntary Aided schools, the two last categories are schools where the church foundation does not have a majority on the governing body. However, all church schools are governed under Instruments of Government, operating since 1 September 2003, which contain “an ethos statement” adopted by the governors to encapsulate the religious character of the school and its purpose. It represents a modern interpretation of the school’s original Trust Deed, the legal document which founded the school.
Foundation Governors are expected to bring to the Governing body an informed regard for the Church nature of the foundation of the school, to ensure that its Christian ethos is preserved and developed, and the religious worship reflects the tradition of the Church of England.
The law gives some powers and duties specifically to headteachers, and others to governing bodies. In a well-managed school, the headteacher and governing body will work in a close and balanced partnership.
Governors have a general responsibility for the effective management of the school, acting within the framework set by national legislation with guidance from the Diocese and the LA. But they are not expected to take detailed decisions about the day-to-day running of the school – that is the role of the headteacher, whose appointment is one of the most important decisions with which the governing body will be concerned. A good headteacher will discuss all the main aspects of school life with the governors and expect them to offer general guidance. Since it is for the governors to be answerable for the running of the school, the headteacher will want to be confident that her/his actions have their support.
All governors have equal rights and responsibilities. They are not delegates and must act according to their judgement, in the best interests of the children in the school.
The responsibility of the governing body is collective. Governors do not have power to act individually unless instructed by the whole governing body. Governors work collectively with the headteacher and staff to carry out their responsibilities.
Governors’ responsibilities involve the considerable commitment of time and energy. It is not necessary for governors to be “experts” – accountants, surveyors, solicitors, teachers – but they must be willing to bring to bear their own common sense and experience of life on the many issues presented for their attention.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) will recommend people who it regards as being able to bring a Christian perspective to the life of the school to the Diocesan Board of Education, for appointment as foundation governors. They will have knowledge of what Christian values might be from their own learning and relationships within the Church.
The National Governors Association (NGA) have relaunched the Governing Board Skills Audit. There are now two models, one for governors, trustees of single academy trusts and academy committee members, and a second for trustees of Multi-academy trusts. Both helpfully appear in word and excel formats. Further details and both models can be found on the following link: NGA Models for Governor Skills Audits
Useful Governance Documentation:
Welcome and introduction
Purposes of an Ethos Committee
Publication of Governor’s Details and the Register of Interests
Governor’s Skills Audit
Link to Governors Handbook
Guidance for School Governors When Conducting an Independent Review
Best Practice Advice for School Complaints Procedures 2016 (external link to document produced by the Department for Education)
Readiness for Ofsted inspection
Download the model policy for collective worship
Download the model policy for RE in church schools
Download the model policy for spiritual development
Download the model behaviour policy
Download the model policy for SRE
Nomination and appointment of foundation governors protocol
Skills base foundation governor application form
Governor’s Skills Audit
Removal of a foundation governor
Skills base Academy (not DGAT) foundation governor application form
Nominating Foundation Governors – PCC Considerations