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Luton Borough Council

Governors FAQs

Welcome to the Governor Support Service FAQs page. Here you will find answers and links to resources about questions frequently asked of our service.

1. What does a school governor do?

Every school has a governing body. Governors are responsible for working with the headteacher to consider strategically how to raise standards of achievement for all pupils at the school. They are also responsible for setting the budget and for overseeing the curriculum. Governors also have powers with respect to the appointment and dismissal of staff and the exclusion and re-instatement of pupils.

2. Do I need special qualifications?

No! You need interest, enthusiasm, time and a genuine desire to support our students. Schools need people from their local community who can offer energy, experience and fresh ideas.
Governor Services provide support and training for new governors, which will help you understand your role and responsibilities in more depth. However, all your existing skills and experience will be very welcome and as you acquire more, you will be able to apply these to other areas of your life.

3. Who can be a school governor?

Anybody over 18, with a few exceptions such as people who are undischarged bankrupts. Schools need people from their local communities to help them raise standards for all our students. All applicants are subject to checks to ensure the safety and protection of the young people in our schools.

4. What does a governing body do?

Governing bodies have three main roles:
  • to provide strategic direction for the school
  • to act as a critical friend to the headteacher (who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the school) and the school team
  • to ensure accountability to stakeholders

5. How is a governing body made up?

Governing bodies range in size from 9 - 20 members. They include:
  • parents
  • school staff
  • people chosen by governors from the local community
  • people appointed by the local authority
  • faith group representatives in Aided and Controlled schools

How much time does it take?

Approximately one day a month on average, however this will vary depending on the number of governing body meetings and the amount of committee work that you choose to do. Governors act as a team and, as such, the amount of time that each of them can give to the role will vary.

7. Where can I find a model policy for governor visits?

Managed well, structured visits to school by governors can help immeasurably in governors' understanding of their school, its teachers and its pupils. Visits can help to strengthen working relationships between staff and governors. They can bring another perspective to whole school evaluation of progress.
Governor Services has a book of 'model' policies which we have found to be very helpful. You may borrow this resource, free of charge, from our reference library by contacting Emma Armstrong on (01582) 548221 or email [email protected]  Please use the link below to our information leaflet 'Governor visits'.

8. Extended schools: What does it mean for governors?

Governors have a key role to play in developing extended services in schools. They are equal partners with headteachers and senior management teams in providing the vision, strategy and direction of the school.
Governors will want to ensure that extended services are developed and are integral to the school s improvement plan and the changes to teachers conditions of service arising from the National Agreement. For many schools this will involve new types of partnership working.

9. How do I find out about becoming a school governor?

If you wish to know more about becoming a school governor and the roles and responsibilities, click here to read our information leaflet 'What a school governor looks like'.
**Link to leaflet**
If you wish to apply to become a school governor please complete our prospective governor form and return to Emma Armstrong, Governor Services, The Leagrave Centre, Strangers Way, Luton, LU4 9ND.  Alternatively, please telephone Yvonne on (01582) 548221 for an informal chat.

10. When do I need to renew Governor Pecuniary Interest forms?

Annually; your clerk will usually ask you to complete a pecuniary interest form at the first meeting of the Autumn term, when the election of chair and vice chair is carried out. Also, when a new governor is elected or appointed, the clerk will ensure they complete a form.
These forms should be kept in a register in the school office, as both auditors and HMI will ask to see it.

11. When I have a parent governor vacancy, do I have to send out nomination papers to all parents?

Yes, the headteacher should inform all parents of a forthcoming election, as soon as possible after the vacancy arises. Don't forget that parents are not eligible to become parent governors if, at the time of the election, they work for more than 500 hours in the school or are an elected member of the borough council.
Once the election has been completed, all parents of registered pupils should be informed of the result by letter, newsletter and by notices posted up in the school.
Governor Services have prepared various pro-forma which will assist with this process. These are currently available by email. Please contact Emma Armstrong, Governor Support Officer, (01582) 548221 for further details and/or advice.
Please click here for information on the role of a parent governor.
**Link to the 'the role of parent governor'.

12. What happens to governors appointed outside reconstitution but after 1 September 2003 under the new regulations?

These governors terms of office will end on the date of the reconstitution and they will, therefore, have to be re-elected (in the case of parent, staff and community governors) or re-appointed (in the case of LEA and foundation governors).
For further information contact Emma Armstrong on (01582) 548221 or email [email protected].
Don't forget to send your new Instrument of Governance to Governor Services who will check the new ratios and arrange for the final sealing to take place.

13. Are governors vetted?

At present, the local authority checks both new and re-appointed governors against the 'Children’s Barred List' (formerly List 99). This is a national list of people who are prohibited from working with children. In voluntary aided schools the appointing religious body carry out these checks.
There is also a listing of disqualifications which governors must read and sign before they can be appointed or re-appointed to a governing body. This is known as a declaration form.
© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ