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The Governing Body has three core functions:

  • To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • To hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • To oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure money is well spent.

Composition of the Governing Body

The Governing Body is composed of:

  • 8 Foundation Governors
  • 1 Headteacher
  • 1 Staff Governor
  • 2 Parent Governors
  • 1 Local Authority Governor
  • 1 Co-opted Governor

As detailed in the Instrument of Government for the school signed and dated by the Diocese and Local Authority in June 2015. The term of office of a Governor is 4 years.

The Headteacher is a member of the Governing Body by virtue of their office.

The Role of the Foundation Governor

Foundation Governors of voluntary aided (VA) Catholic schools and academies are appointed by the Bishop for Diocesan schools and by the Trustees of schools provided by a religious institution. St. Dunstan’s Catholic Primary School is in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

The Diocesan policy requires Foundation Governors to be practising Catholics and they therefore have to be recommended by the parish priest for appointment to primary schools.

Foundation Governors in voluntary aided Catholic schools have a statutory duty to preserve and develop the religious character of the school and ensure compliance with the Trust Deed.

Foundation Governors are supported in their role by the Catholic Schools’ Service through training, guidance and policies and by advice to individual Governing bodies where appropriate.

Foundation Governors must always be in a majority of two compared to the total of all other categories of Governors combined.

The Role of the Parent Governor

Parents of pupils on the school roll elect Parent Governors who must be parents of a child on the school roll at the time of their election. Although elected by parents, Parent Governors are not obliged to express any views apart from their own. However, it is important they try to represent the views of parents on major issues to the Governing Body, where appropriate. A Parent Governor is therefore a representative, but not a delegate.

The Role of the Local Authority Governor

The Local Authority in Surrey nominates Local Authority Governors to be appointed by Governing bodies, subject to meeting any eligibility criteria set by the Governing bodies.

A Local Authority governor is a representative of the Local Authority. They are not a delegate of the Local Authority and, as such, cannot be mandated to take any particular course of action or vote in a specific way at meetings. Whilst they represent the Local Authority they are not chosen to represent any one political view. They must act in the best interests of the school and wider community and cannot be mandated to take a particular stance on issues.

The Role of the Staff Governor

Staff Governors are elected by the staff at the school to serve for 4 years, in accordance with the school’s Instrument of Government. If a staff governor leaves a school they stop being a governor. Anybody who is employed to work at the school under a contract of employment, full or part-time, is entitled to stand for election as a Staff Governor.

Staff Governors play a central role in helping the Full Governing Body understand the workings of the school. Their expertise can be utilised to:

  • draft school policies
  • and present data
  • strategies to improve parental and wider community engagement
  • help all Governors understand the curriculum and how Governing Body decisions make a difference to the school

Co-opted Governors

Co-opted Governors are people who in the opinion of the Governing Body, have particular skills required to contribute to the effective governance of the school.

Associate Members

Associate Members are not Governors but are appointed by the Governing board to bring expertise and experience in specific areas to committees. They may be appointed for a period of between one and four years.

The Role of the Clerk to Governors

The clerk fulfils several roles. They minute Governors’ meetings and keep accurate records, but also have a role to ensure that Governors are aware of their statutory duties and responsibilities. 

It is the responsibility of the clerk of the Governing Body to:

  • convene meetings of the Governing Body as directed by the Chair of Governors;
  • attend meetings of the Governing Body and ensure minutes are taken;
  • maintain a register of members of the Governing Body and report vacancies to the Governing Body;
  • maintain a register of attendance and report this to the Governing Body;
  • give and receive notices in accordance with relevant regulations;
  • perform such other functions as may be determined by the Governing Body from time to time.