Code of Conduct for St Thomas More Governors
As a Catholic school, God is at the heart of all we do. We believe that each person is made in His image, deserving to be treated with respect and dignity.
Showing respect, love and care for everyone and everything, we aim to develop harmony between pupils, parents the school and Parish and grow as a Christian community.
Pupils will share in God’s love, whilst receiving a broad and balanced education. We aim to enable each individual to realise their full potential, spiritually, academically, physically, socially and emotionally.
Date drafted: February 2015
Date ratified by the Governing Body: May 2015
Date for review by Governors: September 2016
St ThomasMoreCatholicPrimary School is committed to working together as a loving Christian community that is centred on the Gospel teachings of Christ.
The Purpose of the governing body
The Governing Body is the school’s accountable body. It is responsible for the Catholic Ethos and provision within the school and for promoting high standards in all aspects of school life. The Governing Body aims to ensure that children are attending a successful school which provides them with a good Catholic Education and supports their well-being.
We aim to develop co-operation between parents, school and parish in order to grow as a Christian community.
All governors should support the aims and values of the school and promote the interests of the school and its pupils in the wider community. We should remember that no governor has any individual power or authority (unless legally delegated), we can only act corporately. To achieve this, all governors will be expected to adhere to the following code of conduct and act for the good of the school
The Head Teacher is responsible for the day to day management of the school, the implementation of policy and the operation of the curriculum. Governors have a responsibility for determining, monitoring and keeping under review, the policies, plans and procedures within which the school operates.
Publication of Governors Details and Register of Interests
The recently updated DfE Constitution Guidelines states that governing bodies should publish on their websites information about governors and their register of interests.
The information should include for each governor:
- Their name
- Their category of governor
- Which body appointed them
- Their term of office
- The names of any committees the governor serves on; and
- Details of any position of responsibility such as chair or vice-chair of the governing body or a committee of the governing body.
Governing bodies should also publish this information for associate governors, making clear whether they have voting rights on any of the committees.
From 1st September 2015, governing bodies will be under a duty to publish their register of interests. The register will set out the relevant business interests of governors and details of any other educational establishments they govern. The register will also set out any relationships between governors and members of the school staff, partners and relatives.
Any governors failing to reveal information to fulfil the governing bodies responsibilities may be in breach of the Code of Conduct and as a result be bringing the governing body into disrepute.
Any matter concerning a named pupil, prospective pupil, parent, employee or prospective employee will remain confidential. The content of meetings should not be discussed outside the meeting other than as appears in the minutes. Once a decision has been agreed by the Governing Body all governors will support the decision made. Minutes of Governors meeting are public property after they have been approved by the Governing Body. Therefore they should only record decisions and indicate action, not individual views or behaviour. The Governing Body can agree for some items to remain confidential if reference is made to specific individuals and these will be minuted separately.
These are only to be made on behalf of the Governing Body by the person delegated to make one, usually the Chair or Vice Chair of Governors.
Governors do and should have a high profile in the school community and people will turn to governors for advice, help and to complain. Parents should always be initially advised to contact their class teacher or the head teacher with complaints. However, should parents still not be happy they should be advised to write to the Chair of Governors – individual governors should not deal with complaints. Governors should be careful when dealing with staff complaints not to prejudice any future possible investigations and should point them to the agreed policy for dealing with such matters.
Conflicts of Interest
Most governors have other relationships with the school, e.g. employee or parent therefore governors should not put themselves in a position where there is a conflict of interest between their personal interest and their duties as a governor. For example governors should withdraw from meetings where their child or their employment is being discussed. They should be careful to ensure that their relationship with the school is conducted in a proper and ethical manner to avoid comprising their standing as a Governor. A Register of Pecuniary Interest is maintained for all members of the Finance & Resources Committee and any other Governors who anticipate having a pecuniary interest.
School governance takes time and commitment from all members of the Governing Body. While it is recognised that individual personal, social and work commitments may vary every effort should be made to spread the work of governance evenly between the Governors. This will involve all Governors attending meetings regularly, sitting on at least one Committee and all non-staff governors undertaking one monitoring responsibility.
The full Governing Body will meet no less than four times per year. Committees will meet no less than 4 times per year. Meeting dates for all meetings will be planned in advance for the academic year, either at the final meeting of the summer term or at the first meeting in the autumn term. Governors are also expected to make at least one monitoring visit per year and undertake training to allow them to fulfil their role appropriately.
Governors should be supportive friends to the school inside its walls and loyally committed to it outside. A supportive friend offers support, constructive advice, a second opinion on proposals and help when needed. They also challenge, ask questions, seek information, improve proposals and so seek to arrive at the best solution.
All governors should respect the work of other Governors, the head teacher and staff. Governors should be supportive to each other, especially new governors. Everyone is equal and should be allowed to take part in meetings. Differences of opinion should be respected.
Visits to the school
While every governor should get to know the school through visits, they should remember that school governors do not have an automatic right to enter the school. Therefore, these visits should always be purposeful and planned in advance with the head teacher in order to avoid unnecessary disruption. Governors can only visit the school by invitation or by a governing body decision. When visiting the school governors should adhere to the Governor Visits Policy at all times. The purpose of visits should be to explore the impact and effectiveness of the schools’ policies and procedures. Visits should have a clear focus, linked to a school policy, a curriculum area or an aspect of the school Strategic Plan. Governors should understand that their visits do not replace professional inspections or the monitoring role of the head teacher. Governors should not make judgements about the effectiveness of the teaching that they see. Governors should dress appropriately for visits and not carry or do anything to imply that their visit is an inspection. Governors should report back to the Governing Body on any visit made to the school.
To ensure that we work effectively all Governors should take part in appropriate training in house, by the LA and the Diocese Education Department. The Chair and Head Teacher will suggest training appropriate to the School Strategic Plan at the start of the academic year and ask Governors to volunteer to attend. Governors should report back to the Governing Body on any training undertaken.
In order to ensure that we are working in the most efficient and effective way an evaluation of the work of the Governing Body should take place at the last meeting of every academic year.
Governors’ relationship with parents
The Governors of St Thomas More Catholic Primary School are committed to an open and accountable relationship with the parents of pupils at the school. To this end we will as far as is practical:
- Make the Agenda for governors meetings available for viewing on the Website and available from the School Office.
- Publish a School Profile each year in line with government regulations and continue to produce a school prospectus.
- Have governors available at school events and at other times to hear parents’ comments about the school.
- Welcome written comments via the clerk and chair of governors.
- Send a questionnaire to parents once a year to gauge their opinion on current issues.
Individual governors do not have any authority in school. It is the collective decisions of all the governors together that carry authority. The activities that governors undertake outside meetings can be seen as preparation for the times when the governing body ‘goes live’ – in a meeting.
As a governor I expect:
- to attend regularly and be punctual;
- an agenda and relevant documents to reach me at least seven days before the meeting;
- an agenda that makes clear the purpose of each item;
- a Chair who keeps to the agenda, paces the meeting so that time is given to each matter in proportion to its importance, draws on all members for contributions and keeps discussions to the point;
- my contributions to be heard and others to contribute to the discussion;
- the decision making process to be quite clear;
- governors to work together and not to be stubbornly partisan;
- governors to take collective responsibility for decisions;
- minutes that summarise views succinctly, record decisions accurately and are made available, in draft form, soon after each meeting.
Others can expect me to:
- attend regularly and be punctual;
- read the agenda, minutes and other papers before the meeting and note items I want to say something about;
- bring my papers to the meeting;
- make relevant and positive contributions;
- listen to and consider what other people want to say;
- accept my share of collective responsibility, even for those decisions that I do not personally agree with.
A copy of the Governor’s Code of Conduct can be downloaded CodeofConductforGovernors2015