The following article comes from Clive-Anthony Douglas MBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Boleyn Trust.

To be effective as a school governor, you need to have a good understanding of the role and its responsibilities so that your school gains maximum benefit from the work that you do.

Tips on how to lead a school’s governing board

1. Work closely with the Headteacher to promote and maintain high standards of educational achievement.

Some meetings are ad-hoc and informal, as well as documented minutes to ensure accountability on both sides, but there must be six statutory minute meetings per year. This will ensure that the governing body sets a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school with the governing body holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and for the performance management of staff.

A good relationship with the Headteacher is being a critical friend by offering support, challenge and encouragement, holding the headteacher to account and ensuring the headteacher’s performance management is rigorous and robust; a good comparison is with the role of the chair of a board of trustees who works with the chief executive of an organisation but does not run day-to-day operations.

2. Oversee the financial performance of the school and the effective use of the school’s resources.

You also need to ensure that all governors understand the role and responsibilities of the governing body, which can vary slightly depending on the type of school such as voluntary aided, foundation, or academy – these are found in the multi-academy guidance handbook.

3. Give the governing body a clear lead and direction.

Leading effective governance is giving the governing body a clear lead and direction, ensuring that the governors work as an effective team and understand their accountability and the part they play in the strategic leadership of the school and in driving school improvement.

4. Build a strong team with various skills, knowledge and experience.

Attracting governors with the necessary skills and ensuring that tasks are delegated across the governing body so that all members contribute, and feel that their individual skills, knowledge, and experience are well used and that the overall workload is shared.

5. Prioritise school improvement.

Improving our school to ensuring school improvement is the focus of all policy and strategy and that governor scrutiny, monitoring and challenge reflect school improvement priorities and ensure that statutory requirements and regulations are met, that the school provides value for money in its use of resources and that governing body business is conducted efficiently and effectively.