The Department for Education (DFE) defines the role of governing bodies in the Governor's Handbook.
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on the core strategic function:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
It defines that effective governance is based on six key features:
- Strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy.
- Accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance.
- People with the right skills, experience, qualities and capacity.
- Structures that reinforce clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
- Compliance with statutory and contractual requirements.
- Evaluation to monitor and improve the quality and impact of governance
In the School Governance Regulations the Department for Education explains that the purpose of the governing body is to:
- Help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement.
- Keep the pressure up on school improvement.
- Be a critical friend to the school, offering support and advice.
- Make the school accountable to the public for what it does.
- Work with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping the school under review.
- Exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the Headteacher.
- Not intervene in the day-to-day management of the school.