How to become an Academy Governor

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Information for prospective local governors

The Local Governing Body of an academy is an important local body which works closely in partnership with the Academy Trust’s Board of Directors to ensure there is effective governance of the academy. The specific responsibilities of the directors and local governors are outlined in the Scheme of Delegation. The Local Governing Body will always have the best interests of the academy and the local community at heart.

The Department for Education has identified three core functions for effective governance of academies and schools:

a)    Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;

b)   Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the academy and its pupils; and,

c)    Overseeing the financial performance of the academy and making sure its money is well spent.

The Local Governing Body of an academy will, therefore, need to have members who bring a range of skills, experiences and perspectives to ensure it fulfils its responsibilities effectively. Prospective local governors should use the person specification below and the local governor structure when completing their applications, particularly for the section on any relevant information.

Person specification for a local governor

It is an expectation of the Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust that that every Academy local governor appointed by the Trust will have:

a)    A commitment to the Academy and its Objects, including the Christian character and ethos of the Academy

b)   A willingness to devote the necessary time and effort to Academy business

c)    An ability to hold others to account for their professional practice

d)   Strategic vision

e)    Good independent judgement

f)    A willingness to develop an understanding of the legal duties and responsibilities of the Local Governing Body

g)    Effective communication skills

h)   Experience of at least one of the following broad areas: education, church schools, finance, law, risk management, business, human resources, land or building matters, charity trusteeship, local, church or community involvement, experience as a parent.

Confidentiality 

Governors receive a great deal of confidential information, including information about individual children, employees and local families. It is essential that confidentiality is respected and that information is not shared outside the Local Governing Body, verbally or in writing. 

All governors should feel able to express honest opinions on matters being discussed if the Local Governing Body is to have real value. Even if an issue is not confidential, it may still need to be handled carefully and sensitively.

Internet Access

Agendas and papers for meetings, as well as other documents, are normally sent by email also training is primarily delivered via an online application, so it is important for local governors to have their own email account and easy access to the internet. 

Time Commitment 

Attendance at Local Governing Body meetings is important because decisions can only be made if sufficient governors are present. Meeting papers are sent out in advance so that they can be read prior to the meeting.

In summary the expectations of a governor’s time commitment are as follows:

a)    Attending at least six LGB meetings each year (these usually take place each half term at the Academy and may last around 2 hours eg 5-7pm)

b)   Attending additional committee meetings where relevant

c)    Visiting the academy, at least once a term, outside LGB meetings

d)   Attending other meetings if appropriate – such as exclusion and disciplinary hearings 

As a general rule, a local governor would be expected to remain on a Local Governing Body for four years. Four years is the minimum expectation given how important it is to get to know the Academy, build relationships and gain the skills of governance.

Governor Training 

Governors would be expected to participate in training as appropriate.

If you would like to apply to become a local academy governor, please complete and return the application form and Code of Practice form below or contact the Clerk to Governors at governors@march.w-sussex.sch.uk