Welcome from the Chair of the Governing Body, Dawn McIntosh
With increasing school autonomy, governance is under the spotlight like never before with increased scrutiny from Ofsted and greater expectations from the government.
Effective governance is essential for the health and success of any organisation. Effective governing boards are prepared and equipped to take their responsibilities seriously. Honywood School became an Academy in May 2011. At that time the School’s serving governors also became directors of the Academy Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee. The Academy Trust has a formal funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education.
Academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government, rather than through a local authority. The day-to-day running of the school is with the headteacher, but this is overseen by the Academy Trust, which provides advice, support, expertise and a strategic overview. An academy controls its own admissions process and has more freedom than other schools to innovate.
Who oversees academies?
Academies, like all schools, are inspected by Ofsted, but because of changes to the inspection regime, those classed outstanding are no longer routinely inspected. Regional School Commissioners were introduced in 2014 to approve academy conversions and monitor standards at academies and free schools in their areas.
The governing body
In academies, directors or trustees are often referred to as governors. Most governance decisions are made collectively through a board of directors typically referred to as the governing body.
The governing body manages the academy on behalf of the Academy Trust and the key responsibilities are to:
• Ensure the quality of educational provision
• Challenge and monitor the performance of the school
• Manage the Academy Trust’s finances
• Exercise reasonable skill and care in carrying out duties
• Ensure that the Academy Trust complies with charity and company law
• Operate the academy in accordance with the Funding Agreement that has been signed with the secretary of state
So first, we act as employer to the staff. That includes appointing the Head and Deputy Head, and holding them to account for the school’s performance and outcomes to ensure the quality of education provision. Matters such as the admissions policy and the curriculum come under our scrutiny. Second, we have a strategic role in acting as a “critical friend”, providing support to the leadership and holding its decisions up to constructive examination in the interests of the learners. Third, we ensure the school operates within the statutory and legal framework laid down by Parliament and complies with charities and company law plus the funding agreement. Fourth, we manage the land, buildings and finances.
The governing body comprises:
• The headteacher
• Three staff governors appointed by staff body
• Three elected parent governors appointed by parent body
• Five Principal sponsor appointees or governors appointed by the members of the Academy Trust
• One LA governor
The governing body committees
The governing body meets four times annually. Three key committees meet regularly:
• Curriculum & Learner Related
• Premises & Community
• Personnel & Finance
Other committees meet when required. Each committee is minuted by the Clerk to the governing body and has the headteacher in attendance at all meetings.
• Board and committee terms of reference
• Governors’ terms of office and declarations of business interests
• Governor attendance at meetings
• Articles of Association
• Schedule of monitoring visits
I and my fellow governors are immensely proud of this innovative school, its inspirational head teacher, team of dedicated staff, and our independent learners. We are sure our parents share our passion to create the very best future for youngsters. I am grateful to my fellow governors, who voluntarily devote so much time and effort to making Honywood a school our community can be proud of.
Contact with the governors may be made via our Clerk:
Suzanne Pattison [email protected]