This code sets out the expectations and commitment required from our governors in order for the governing body to properly carry out its work with our school and the community. The governing body adopted this code of practice on 15 September 2015.
The purpose of our governing body
The governing body is our school’s accountable body. Our governing body has 3 core functions:
Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure it’s money is well spent.
We fulfil these core functions by:
Carrying out our statutory duties, such as safeguarding, and understanding the strategic boundaries of our role as governors.
Reviewing and disseminating to our stakeholders our vision and ambition for the school, which will incorporate:
our culture of high expectations, aspirations and excellence in academic and vocational work; and
our highest expectations for social behaviour among pupils and staff, so that respect and courtesy are the norm.
Engaging with our key stakeholders, including parents, carers and other stakeholders, including external agencies, to support all pupils.
Contributing to and agreeing the school’s self-evaluation and understanding the school’s strengths and weaknesses, to ensure it leads to planning that secures continual improvement.
Ensuring the design and implementation of the curriculum has breadth and balance so that:
the formal curriculum is supplemented with extra-curricular opportunities for pupils to extend their knowledge and understanding and to improve their skills in a range of artistic, creative and sporting activities; and
it raises awareness and keeps pupils safe from the dangers of abuse, sexual exploitation, radicalisation and extremism.
Ensuring that the school prepares pupils positively for life in modern Britain and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
Understanding and taking sufficient account of pupil data, particularly our understanding and use of the school data dashboard.
Having an awareness of the impact of teaching on learning and progress in different subjects, key stages and year groups by using the data provided to track the progress of groups of pupils to ensure that none falls behind and underachieves.
Monitoring the effectiveness of the actions school leaders take to secure and sustain improvements to teaching, learning and assessment.
Ensuring the effective use of additional grants, such as pupil premium and sports premium, including monitoring the impact of these grants on pupil outcomes.
Providing support for an effective head teacher.
Monitoring performance management systems and understanding how the school makes decisions about teachers’ salary progression, including the performance management of the Head Teacher, to:
improve teaching, leadership and management; and
ensure the school has a motivated and effective teaching staff to deliver a high quality education for all pupils.
Ensuring solvency and probity and that the financial resources made available to the school are managed effectively and support the school’s identified development priorities.
Being transparent and accountable, including in terms of the recruitment of staff, governance structures, attendance at meetings, and contact with parents and carers.
For our governing body to carry out their role effectively, we will be:
Prepared and equipped to take our responsibilities seriously.
Reflective governors, who monitor and review our own performance on a regular basis.
Committed to undertaking training termly to (a) meet our personal development needs and (b) to meet the needs of the full governing body.
Committing the time necessary to fulfil the role.
As a corporate body in the eyes of the law, we understand and accept that:
No governor can act on their own without proper authority from the full governing body. We will only speak or act on behalf of the governing body when we have been specifically authorised to do so.
All governors carry equal responsibility for the decisions made. We will encourage the open and constructive expression of views at meetings, but 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 meeting.
All governors have equal status and although appointed by different groups, our overriding concern will be for the welfare of our school and pupils as a whole.
We accept that by accepting office as a governor at this school, we are committing to significant amounts of time and energy.
We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of our governing body and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees, working groups, visiting the school and attending training.
We will make full efforts to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend, explain in advance and in full, why we are unable to.
We will get to know our school well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
Our visits to our school will be arranged in advance with the head teacher and undertaken within the framework established by the governing body and agreed with the head teacher.
We will consider seriously our individual/collective needs for training/development and will undertake relevant training.
We are committed to actively supporting and challenging the head teacher in order to effectively fulfil our core strategic functions.
We will work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.
We will express views openly, with courtesy and respect in all communications with governors and staff.
We will support the chair in their role of ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times.
We will 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 seek to develop effective working relationships with the head teacher, staff, parents, the local authority (LA), other relevant agencies and the local community.
We will observe complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern specific members of staff, parents or pupils, both inside or outside the school.
We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school business arise outside a governing body meeting.
We will not reveal the details of any governing body vote.
Conflicts of interest
We will record any pecuniary interests that we have in connection with the governing body’s business in the Register of Business Interests.
We will declare any personal or pecuniary interest – or personal interest which could be perceived as a conflict of interest – in a matter under discussion at a meeting and leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time.
We understand the purpose of the governing body as set out above.
We are aware of and accept the Nolan 7 principles of public life (see appendix.)
We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice, and in so far as we have responsibility for the employment of staff, we will fulfil all that is reasonably expected of a good employer.
In making or responding to criticism or complaints affecting our school we will follow the procedures established by the governing body.
We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of our school. Our actions within the school and the local community will reflect this.
We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other settings.
We will provide personal information, e.g. conflict of interests, as required, to ensure that the governing body fully meets its statutory responsibilities and accept that some of this information is required, by statute, to be published on the school website.
We will complete all paperwork required by law and the governing body, whether to be published on the school website or kept elsewhere, in the stated timeframe.
We will sign the Code at the first governing body meeting of each school year, with new governors signing when they commence their term of office during the school year. If a governor feels that they cannot commit and sign the Code of Practice, the governing body will deem that the governor is resigning, with immediate effect, from our governing body.
Breach of this code of conduct
If we believe this code has been breached, we will raise this issue with the Chair and the Chair will investigate; the governing body will only use suspension as a last resort after seeking to resolve any difficulties or disputes in more constructive ways.
We understand that any allegation of a material breach of this code of practice by any governor shall be raised at a meeting of the governing body and, if agreed to be substantiated by a majority of governors, shall be minuted and can lead to consideration of suspension from the governing body.
We are aware of the provisions of regulation 17 of the School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013, which pertain to the grounds for suspension as a school governor and of Schedule 4 to the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 relating to the disqualifications from the role of school governor.
As a member of our school’s governing body I agree to abide by our code of practice; I will always have the wellbeing of the children and the reputation of the school at heart; I will do all I can to be an ambassador for the school, publicly supporting its aims, values and ethos; I will never say or do anything publicly that would embarrass the school, the governing body, the head teacher or staff. I agree to required personal information being published on the school website and providing updates as and when necessary.
I accept that the governing body members will challenge me if it feels that I am not abiding by this code of practice, and that this could lead to my suspension, disqualification or being asked to resign.
SIGNED BY ALL COURTWOOD GOVERNORS
Appendix: The Seven Principles of Public Life
(originally published by the Nolan Committee: The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations).
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.