Governing body roles and responsibilities | Oxfordshire County Council

Governing body roles and responsibilities

What do school governors do?

Governing bodies are typically made up of between 7 and 20 governors, comprising of members of school staff, members of the community, members of the Local Authority, parents and in church schools, members of the Diocese. 

Their roles are to:

  • ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
  • oversee the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

The role of governor is largely a thinking and questioning role, not a doing role. Governors must maintain a strategic view, and not get involved in the day-to-day management and operational responsibilities within school. The headteacher is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school and the implementation of the strategic framework established by the governing board.

As part of the governing body team, a governor is expected to:-

Contribute to the strategic discussions at governing body meetings which determine:

  • the vision and ethos of the school;
  • clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school;
  • that all children, including those with special educational needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum;
  • the school’s budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium allocation;
  • the school’s staffing structure and key staffing policies;
  • the principles to be used by school leaders to set other school policies.

Hold the senior leaders to account by monitoring the school’s performance; this includes:

  • agreeing the outcomes from the school’s self-evaluation and ensuring they are used to inform the priorities in the school development plan;
  • considering all relevant data and feedback provided on request by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance;
  • asking challenging questions of school leaders;
  • ensuring senior leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits;
  • ensuring senior leaders have developed the required policies and procedures and the school is operating effectively according to those policies;
  • acting as a link governor on a specific issue, making relevant enquiries of the relevant staff, and reporting to the governing body on the progress on the relevant school priority;
  • listening to and communicating with the school’s stakeholders: pupils, parents, staff, and the wider community, including local employers.

Ensure the school staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.

For more information about the role, see the Department for Education Governance Handbook

Last reviewed
09 August 2017
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