The Role of the School Governor
The term ‘Governing Body’ in this document includes the governing body of a Catholic voluntary aided school, federation or sixth-form college.
The term ‘School’ in this document includes a Catholic voluntary aided school, federation or sixth-form college.
As a Governing Body, our overarching responsibility lies in ensuring that we comply with our legal and canonical duty to ensure that the Catholic character of the School is preserved and developed and that this duty permeates everything that we do.
We understand that Foundation Governors are required, as the cornerstone of their role, to ensure this objective is achieved. However, all governors have a duty to preserve and develop the Catholic character of the School in order to fulfil the objects set out in its governing documents.
OUR CORE STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS:
Further, in accordance with our legal obligations, we endeavour to operate at a strategic level, leaving the School’s senior leadership responsible and accountable for the operational day-to-day running of the School. It is by achieving these aims that we can be sure that our School has effective governance. Our core strategic functions, as a Governing Body, therefore, are in: 1. Ensuring clarity of Catholic mission, ethos and strategic direction; 2. Holding the appropriate senior leadership to account for the educational performance and Catholic character of the School and its pupils; and for the internal organisation, management and control of the School including performance management of staff; 3. Overseeing the financial performance of the School and making sure its money is well spent; and 4. Ensuring the voices of stakeholders are heard. We understand that the Catholic Church expects Catholic schools to promote and uphold high standards, including academic standards as an integral part of its educational vision for the holistic formation of children and young people. We understand that Canon 806§2 requires that Catholic schools are "...at least as academically distinguished as that in the other schools of the area" and that governors should be mindful of this requirement in all that they do. We adhere to the Church's social teaching which is a rich treasury of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Several of the key themes that are at the heart of Catholic social tradition and which should permeate through our School are 1) life and dignity of the human person 2) call to family, community and participation 3) rights and responsibilities 4) option for the poor and vulnerable 5) the dignity of work and the rights of workers 6) solidarity and 7) care for God’s creation
AS GOVERNORS WE AGREE TO OUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES AS FOLLOWS:
Roles & Responsibilities
▪ We will preserve and develop the Catholic character of the School and this responsibility will permeate throughout all of our actions within, and through all aspects of, the School and the local community;
▪ We will ensure that the School is conducted in accordance with its trust deed, which includes the provisions of:
o Canon law;
o The Religious Education Directory and Bishops’ statements on religious education; and
o Any Diocesan directives relating to schools.
▪ We will conduct the School in accordance with its Instrument (and Articles) of Government and in particular its mission statement;
▪ We will support and implement the policies and procedures of the diocese, including the Diocesan Bishop’s policies on education, including religious education, any Admissions Guidance issued by the diocese, and the expectations of the Diocesan Bishops issued collectively, specifically the Bishops’ Memorandum on the Appointment of Teachers in Catholic Schools;
▪ We will respond to the needs of the Catholic community as a whole as represented by the Diocesan Bishop, complying in all respects with diocesan requirements;
▪ We will protect, promote and serve the Diocese in the ministry of our role as governors faithfully and in particular in compliance with Diocesan Protocols for a committed working relationship between the Diocese and the School
▪ We will consider not only the interests of the School, but the interests of other Catholic schools, colleges, academies and of Catholic education throughout the diocese;
▪ We will undertake to discharge our duties as governors with due care and diligence.
▪ We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other schools, colleges and academies.
▪ We will attend relevant training including diocesan training; governor induction and continuing professional development training, as required by the diocese
▪ We understand the purpose of the governing body and our role as governors and the role of senior leadership. ▪ We accept that our role is strategic and so will focus on our core functions rather than involve ourselves in day-to-day management.
▪ We accept that we have no legal authority to act individually, except when the governing body has given us delegated authority to do so, and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the governing body when we have been specifically authorised to do so.
▪ We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the governing body or its delegated agents. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside the governing body meetings.
▪ We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.
▪ We will encourage transparency and will act appropriately.
▪ In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting the School we will follow the procedures established by the governing body.
▪ We will actively support and challenge the senior leadership.
▪ We will adhere to the Nolan principles set out in Appendix II. ▪ We will strive to uphold the school’s reputation in our private communications (including on social media). ▪ We will have regard to our responsibilities under The Equality Act and will work to advance equality of opportunity for all.
▪ We acknowledge that accepting office as a governor involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy.
▪ We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the governing body, and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees or working groups.
▪ We will make full efforts to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend explain in advance why we are unable to. ▪ We will arrive at meetings prepared, having read all papers in advance, ready to make a positive contribution and observe protocol.
▪ We will get to know the School well and positively respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in School activities.
▪ We will visit the School, with all visits to the School arranged in advance with the staff and undertaken within the framework established by the governing body
▪ We will evaluate our effectiveness as a governing body by way of completing a skills audit and a self evaluation form on an annual basis
▪ We will consider seriously our individual and collective needs for continuous training and development as required by the diocesan education service, and commit to undertake any induction training, relevant training along with any mandatory training (such as safeguarding) as may be required by law.
▪ We accept that in the interests of transparency, our full names, date of appointment, terms of office, roles on the governing body, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing us will be published on our School’s website and anything else as required by law.
In all our relationships we shall exercise stewardship and draw on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ in that:
▪ All relationships will be built on the core values of the Gospel based on the Beatitudes summarised as: faithfulness and integrity; dignity and compassion; humility and gentleness; truth and justice; forgiveness and mercy; purity and holiness; tolerance and peace and service and sacrifice
▪ We will comply with Diocesan Protocols for a committed working relationship between the Diocese and the School.
▪ We will ensure that we continually communicate with and, where appropriate, seek support and guidance from our diocesan education service
▪ We will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.
▪ We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all our communications with other governors.
▪ We will support the chair in ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times.
▪ We are prepared to answer queries from other governors in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and we will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved.
▪ We will respect the remit of and seek to develop effective working relationships with the diocese, parish, the senior leadership, staff and parents, pupils, the local authority, other relevant agencies, and the local community.
▪ We will observe confidentiality in all circumstances in particular in relation to matters concerning specific members of staff or pupils, both inside and outside the School, unless there is a lawful requirement for disclosure.
▪ We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding the business of the School arise outside a governing body meeting.
▪ We will exercise care and skill when communicating through social media.
▪ We will not reveal the details of any governing body vote.
Conflicts of interest
▪ We will always act in the best interests of the charitable objects set out in the governing documents of the School.
▪ We will record any pecuniary or other business interest (including those related to people we are connected with) that we have in connection with the governing body’s business in the Register of Business Interests, and if any such conflicted matter arises in a meeting we will offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time. We accept that the Register of Business Interests will be published on the School’s website.
▪ We will also declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of any meeting should the situation arise. ▪ We accept that in the interests of open governance, our full names, date of appointment, terms of office, roles on the governing body, attendance records, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing us will be published on the school website. ▪ We accept that information relating to board members will be collected and recorded on the Department for Education (DfE) national database (Get Information about Schools), some of which will be publicly available.
Governor Code of Conduct
(approved at FGB meeting - 2/10/23)