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Westminster Special School

Governors Federation of Westminster Special Schools
& Bi-borough Inclusion Service

Governors - Further Information

What does the governing board do?

Federation governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. Governors appoint the Executive Headteacher and are involved in the appointment of other staff. It is governors who hold the ultimate responsibility for finance, and it is governors who work with the Executive Headteacher and senior staff to make the tough decisions about balancing resources and improving the quality of provision.

The role of the governing board is a strategic one. Its key functions are to:

  • Set the aims and objectives for the school
  • Set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • Set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
  • Monitor and evaluate the progress the Federation schools and services are making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
  • Be a source of challenge and support to the Executive Headteacher (a critical friend)
  • The performance management of the executive headteacher which is normally delegated to two governors with support from an external adviser.
  • Establish and sustain a strong governing body that drives improvement and development

To perform their role well governors are expected to:

  • Get to know the schools and services, including visiting the schools during school hours and gain a good knowledge of the schools’ and services strengths and weaknesses
  • Attend induction training and regular relevant training and development events
  • Attend governor meetings and read all papers before the meeting
  • Act in the best interests of all the pupils and the schools and services
  • Behave in a professional manner, as set down by the governing bodies, Standing Orders, Code of Practice and Conduct, including acting in strict confidence when required

The chair of the board is responsible for leading and supporting governors as well as chairing meetings, to ensure a strong and effective governing board.  All governors have a meeting once a year with either the chair or vice chair to review their contribution over the past year and to consider any training needs. The Federation governing board has a development plan, building on and developing best practice.

The role of the Executive Headteacher

The Executive Headteacher supported by the two Headteachers is responsible for:

  • The internal organisation, management and control of the Federation schools including the safeguarding and wellbeing of all pupils and staff.
  • Providing overall strategic leadership and, with others, leading, developing and supporting the strategic direction, vision, values and priorities of the federation
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating Federation policies, practices and procedures.
  • The implementation of the Federation development plan
  • Improving the quality of teaching and learning
  • Pupil progress and achievement
  • Improving the quality of provision and the improvement of Federation schools and services
  • Budget and resource management across the Federation
  • The effective deployment of Federation staff
  • Effective use of Federation premises
  • The Executive Headteacher is also responsible supported by a manager for the standards and quality of the Bi-borough Inclusion Service which provides training opportunities and support to mainstream schools.

The committees

The Federation has three Committees which inform and support the work of the governing board so that business is managed effectively: All three committees meet on a termly basis, have common responsibilities and additional responsibilities specific to each committee

Committee common responsibilities

  • To receive reports from the Federation in sufficient detail to undertake planning, monitoring and evaluation
  • To contribute to, monitor and evaluate the Federation self- evaluation summary, the Federation development plan and relevant policies
  • To review Federation policies when needed, having regard to changes in legislation and any guidance issued by the Secretary of State, reporting or making recommendations to the governing board.
  • To consider recommendations from relevant external reviews for example audit, Ofsted or Local Authority reviews, to agree the actions needed to address any issues identified and to monitor and evaluate regularly the implementation of any plan agreed, reporting or making recommendations to the governing board
  • To take appropriate action on any relevant matter referred by the governing board.
  • To improve standards in both schools

The Resources Committee has oversight of:

  • The Federation finances including the allocation of pupil premium funding  ensuring that the federation operates within the financial regulations of the local authority, Federation finance policy and procurement code and complies with any DfE and SVFS requirements, responding to any issues arising from the audit of the federation accounts or SFVS review and ensuring solvency, probity and value for money  
  • The maintenance and development of the Federation site and premises
  • The adoption and implementation of staffing policies and procedures, ensuring that all principles of good and fair employment practice are adhered to, that staff and trade unions are consulted and legal requirements fulfilled
  • The effective deployment of Federation staff
  • Ensuring that the allocation of resources is linked to improved pupil outcomes

The resources committee with three nominated governors forms the Pay and Review Committee

The Standards and Achievement Committee has oversight of:

  • Pupil progress and achievement
  • The quality of teaching and learning including British Values
  • Ensuring the Federation delivers a broad and balanced curriculum
  • Literacy, Numeracy and PE link governors
  • Governor visits to the Federation so that governors  gain valuable insight into the day to day working of the federation and that there is a programme of monitoring and evaluation visits
  • Implementation of the Federation development plan

The Parent, Pupils and Partnership Committee has oversight of:

  • Safeguarding across the federation including FGM and radicalisation
  • The Federation’s contribution to pupil well-being and healthy lifestyle
  • The Federation website, Information for parents and outside agencies
  • Marketing information
  • Parental and Community engagement
  • The behaviour and safety of pupils
  • Ensuring the Federation takes account of the views of pupils and parents
  • Attendance and exclusions
  • The Federation working with other agencies
  • The development of partnerships to improve provision.
  • The implementation of the new SEN Framework and statutory requirements
  • The work of the Bi-borough Inclusion Service
  • The complaints process and dealing with parental concerns and views

For full details of the Terms of Reference for each committee please use the link

Governors are committed to hearing the views of parents, pupils, staff and other stakeholders. Governors attend events for parents, are in regular contact with federation staff and governors also visit the pupils’ school councils on a regular basis.

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