GOVERNOR CODE OF CONDUCT / STANDING ORDERS
The Governing Board has the following Core Strategic Functions:
Establishing strategic direction, by:
- Setting and ensuring clarity of vision, values and objectives for the school / trust ensuring its distinctive Christian ethos and upholding the school’s trust deed
- Agreeing the school improvement strategy with priorities and targets
- Meeting statutory duties
Ensuring accountability, by:
- Appointing the executive headteacher
- Monitoring the educational performance of the schools and progress towards agreed targets
- Performance managing the executive headteacher
- Engaging with stakeholders
- Contributing to school self-evaluation
- Implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of the schools’ improvement strategy
Overseeing financial performance, by:
- Setting the budget
- Monitoring spending against the budget
- Ensuring money is well spent and value for money is obtained
- Ensuring risks to the organisation are managed
In law, the Governing Board is a corporate board which means that no governor can act on their own without proper authority from the full governing board.
This Code of Conduct sets out the expectations and commitment required from governors in order for the Governing Board to carry out its work effectively.
As individuals on the board of governors we agree to the following:
Roles and Responsibilities
- I agree to uphold and promote the distinctive Christian ethos of the schools and ensure that it is reflected in the way in which the schools are led
- I will be mindful of my responsibility to maintain and develop the Christian ethos and reputation of the federation. My actions within the schools and local community will reflect this
- I will always act in the best interests of the pupils of the schools
- I understand the purpose of the GB and the role of the executive leaders
- I will actively support and challenge executive leaders
- I will respect the role of the executive leaders and their responsibility for the day to day management of the organisation and avoid any actions that may undermine such arrangements
- I will accept and respect the difference in roles between the GB and staff, ensuring that I work with others collectively for the benefit of the organisation
- I accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the GB or its delegated agents. This means that I will not speak against majority decisions outside the governing GB meeting
- I accept that I have no legal authority to act individually, except when the GB has given me delegated authority to do so and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the governing GB when I have been specifically authorised to do so
- I have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice and in so far as I have responsibility for staff, I will fulfil all that is expected of a good governor
- I will encourage open governance and will act appropriately
- I will consider carefully how governance decisions may affect the church, the community and other schools
- In making or responding to criticism or complaints, I will follow the procedures established by the governing board
- I agree to adhere to the schools’ rules and policies and the procedures of the governing GB as set out by the relevant governing documents and law
- I acknowledge that accepting office as a governor involves the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy
- I will involve myself actively in the work of the governing GB and accept my fair share of responsibility, including service on committees and working groups where needed
- I will make every effort to attend all meetings and where I cannot attend, I will explain in advance why I am unable to attend
- I will get to know the schools well and respond to opportunities to involve myself in school activities
- I will visit the schools with all visits arranged in advance with the headteacher / heads of school and in line with the visits policy
- When visiting the school in a personal capacity, I will maintain my underlying responsibility as a governor
- I will ensure that communications and decisions taken by the schools are in line with Church of England policy and practice, and at all times to liaise with the Director of Education regarding any public statements, media engagement or similar wider communications
- When formally speaking or writing in my governing role, I will ensure that my comments reflect current organisational policy even if they may be different to my personal views
- When communicating in my private capacity (including on social media) I will be mindful of and strive to uphold the reputation of governors and the schools
- I will be mindful of internet security of emailing or receiving sensitive information and will only use my secure school email address for governor business
- I will consider seriously my individual and collective needs for induction, training and development and will undertake regular relevant training
- I accept that in the interests of open governance, my full name, date of appointment, terms of office, role on the governing board, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing me will be published on the school website
- In the interests of transparency I accept that information relating to governors will be collected and logged on the DfE’s national database of governors
The GB will ensure it has sufficient governors to undertake its duties effectively and to maintain the quorum for a full GB meeting of not less than 4.
- All governors will be appointed for a 4 year term of office.
- The GB will ensure that it creates an environment which enables it to recruit and retain effective governors and which encourages the participation of all groups and sections of the community.
- The GB will be proactive in recruiting governors whose appointment is its responsibility.
- The GB will seek to recruit people with the relevant skills and experience needed to deliver good governance.
- The GB will publish on the school’s website all of the information relating to its structure and membership as required by the Constitution Regulations Guidance, August 2015, section 25.
2. Election of chair and vice-chair
Any changes to the GB’s arrangements for elections in these standing orders will be made in advance of any election.
- The chair and vice chair will be elected for one year and their term of office will end on the day of the first full GB meeting following the anniversary of their appointment.
- Candidates should self-nominate and do so in time to have their name included on the agenda for the meeting at which the election of officers will take place.
Self-nomination at the meeting will only be accepted if no one has put them self forward on the agenda.
- If they wish to, candidates will be able to make a personal statement to the meeting before the vote.
- Where an election is contested voting will be by secret ballot.
3. Appointment of the clerk to the GB
- The clerk will have a contract of employment that includes specific provisions in relation to their work as clerk. This will show their hours, rate of pay, method of payment, overtime pay and period of notice.
- The GB will arrange for the clerk to discuss their role with the chair of governors on an annual basis.
- The GB will support the clerk in their continuing professional development, by enabling them to participate in the Clerks’ Accreditation programme, the Clerks’ Development Programme, Clerks’ Support meetings and inviting them to attend their whole GB training sessions.
- An annual calendar of dates for main and committee meetings will be set and published.
- The GB will plan its business across the year to take account of the school’s internal management cycle and the availability of information and reports that are needed for it to effectively hold senior leaders to account.
- The GB will hold the minimum number of meetings necessary to ensure the strategic business of the school is properly addressed.
- Meetings will focus the work of the GB on its three core functions and meeting its statutory responsibilities. They will demonstrate that the GB is monitoring progress, evaluating outcomes across the school and that it is ensuring that the school improvement plan is being successfully implemented.
- Governors will receive relevant information sufficiently in advance of meetings for them to be able to review it, leading to informed discussions and sound decision making.
- Governors will read all relevant information forwarded to them so that they can effectively contribute during the meeting by providing support, and appropriate challenge through the questions they ask.
- The submission of apologies should not be taken as the GB giving consent to the absence with regard to the disqualification regulations for non-attendance, each case will considered on its own merits.
- Consent for absence may be granted by the GB on request from governors who know they will be unable to attend meetings for an extended period.
- Where a governor’s pattern of attendance is causing concern they will be alerted to this by the clerk or chair.
- The GB will aim to complete full GB meetings within two hours and committee meetings within one and a half hours.
- Any additions to the agenda (any other business) will only be dealt with if agreed by governors at the beginning of the meeting.
5. GB organisation
a) Committee structure
- The GB will operate either a two committee structure or a system of flat governance
- Standards Achievement and Inclusion– attainment, progress, behaviour, SEND, etc.
- Finance and Resources – finance, staffing, buildings, etc.
- Subject to regulations, the GB will set up staff dismissal and appeal, pupil discipline and (in voluntary aided and foundation schools) admissions committees.
- The GB is required, on an annual basis to:
- review the constitution and membership of its committees
- review the terms of reference of its committees – this task will be undertaken by the committees at their first meeting of the academic year and brought to the GB for agreement
- set the quorum for its committees
- Terms of reference must show the date of the meeting at which they were agreed and be signed by the chair
- Committees will elect their own chair annually, who will not be a member of staff or an associate member.
- Committees will be clerked by a trained individual who is not a member of the committee.
- The overall effectiveness of the committee structure and the way it works to support the core functions of the GB will be reviewed annually.
- In addition to responsibilities retained at GB level by regulations, the GB will not delegate:
- approval of the school improvement plan
- approval of the first annual budget in each financial year
- approval of key policies – these policies will be identified in the GB policy review planner
- The GB will ensure that there are opportunities for parents to engage with governors so that their views can be considered by governors.
- School Improvement
- will focus on gaining a shared understanding of the key strengths and weaknesses of the school
- will be actively engage with school self-evaluation
- will continuously self-evaluate its own performance
- will be involved in setting the agenda for school improvement and contribute to setting the strategic direction for the school
- will use a variety of internal and external information / data to hold the school to account and, where required, take appropriate action to drive up standards
- will require written information from the headteacher covering:
- pupil achievement and progress
- an analysis of the school’s performance data, including vulnerable groups, with details on how pupil premium has been used and the impact it has had
- progress regarding the implementation of the school improvement plan
- budget monitoring and forward financial planning
- the effectiveness of performance management in the school
- how it impacts on the quality of teaching and standards
- the link between pupil outcomes and pay progression
- strategic staffing issues
- behaviour and exclusions
- attendance data
- will require the headteacher to provide each term one written report and one verbal report for full governing body meetings
- will receive and make use of external reports from the Local Authority, where appropriate (except those naming individual staff)
- will receive and make use of external inspection reports from Diocesan advisers and Section 23 inspections
- understand the requirements of the Ofsted Leadership and Management criteria, especially those relating to governance (refer to the Ofsted section in the A –Z index in Hampshire Governor Services Website)
- will ensure that the school has in place all relevant statutory policies and meets all other statutory requirements - for further information on these matters see the ‘Policies and other statutory requirements HCC guidance’ on the Governor Services website (under ‘P’ in the A- Z index)
- I will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted
- I will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all my communications with other governors, the clerk to the governing board and school staff both in and outside of meetings
- I will be respectful of the view of others and help to foster open and honest debate
- I will support the chair in the role of ensuring appropriate conduct both at meetings and at all times
- I am prepared to answer queries from other board members in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and I will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved
- I will seek to develop effective working relationships with the executive leaders, staff and parents, the local authority, the diocese, the church and other local churches and relevant agencies and the community
The GB will:
- use staff and governor time appropriately, sensitively and effectively
- have regard to the need for the executive headteacher and staff to maintain a reasonable work/life balance in the way it conducts its business
- will have regard to equality of opportunity for both current and future governors in planning the frequency and times of meetings
- believes conflict is best resolved openly through discussion, corporate decision making and acceptance of the majority view
- will be welcoming to new governors and ensure they receive appropriate induction and training
- I will observe complete confidentiality when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern specific members of staff or pupils, both inside and outside the school
- I will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school business arise outside of a governing board meeting
- I will not reveal details of any governing board vote
- I will ensure all confidential papers are held and disposed of appropriately
Conflicts of Interest
- I will record any pecuniary or other business interest (including those related to people I am connected with) that I have in connection with the governing board’s business in the ’Register of Business Interests’ and if any such conflicted matter arises in a meeting I will offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time
- I accept that the ‘Register of Business Interests’ will be published on the federation website
- I will declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of a meeting should the situation arise
- I will act in the best interests of the school as a whole and not as a representation of any group
Ceasing to be a governor
- I understand that the requirements relating to confidentiality will continue to apply after I leave office
As a governor, I agree to adhere to the 7 principles of public life
- Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of public interest
- Integrity – Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that may try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships
- Objectivity – Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias
- Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this
- Openness - Holders of public office should act and make decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld for the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for doing s
- Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful
- Leadership – Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviours. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs
Breach of this code of conduct
If I believe this code has been breached, I will raise the issue with the chair who will investigate further. The governing board will use suspension / removal as a last resort after seeking to resolve any disputes. Should it be the chair that I believe has breached this code, the Vice Chair will investigate.
I have read this code of conduct and agree to abide by the code.