Governor Support Team - roles

The chair of governors is responsible for driving school improvement through effective leadership of the governing board and building strong working relationships, particularly with the headteacher.

To be an effective chair you will need to:

  • understand the role and its responsibilities;
  • ensure the governing board sets a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school;
  • with the governing board hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and for the performance management of staff;
  • with the governing board have oversight of the financial performance of the school and the effective use of the schools resources;
  • ensure that all members of the governing board understand the role and responsibilities of the governing board;
  • ensure you have a good working relationship with;
  • the headteacher;
  • members of the governing board;
  • the clerk;
  • ensure succession planning is in place for the future, by creating a culture  in which opportunities for personal development for leadership is encouraged.

Supporting your role

As part of the support offered, we have developed a Chair's Personal Plan which can be used by new or existing chairs.  In the Personal Plan we have listed some questions, ideas and a variety of links to external sources that we think will help you to develop confidence in your role.

If you are an existing, new or aspiring chair we have provided some links below to documents/information which we think you may find useful:

Leading governors:  The role of the chair of governors in schools and academies

Succession breeds success, second edition (PDF 1.8MB)

What governing boards should expect from their leaders  

Governance Handbook

There is a wealth of useful information included in the rest of the Governor Support Team website which will further develop your knowledge.  Additionally, your school will be a part of a cluster and you could tap into this resource to support you in your role.  If you are not already working within this cluster, do consider contacting the chairs of the cluster schools.  Working together in this way has many benefits, for example, a more experienced chair could support a new chair or you could benefit from joint training.

The role of the clerk to governors

The role of clerk to governors is recognised by the Department for Education as a key contributor to the effectiveness of the governing board and the resulting benefit in terms of school improvement.  The clerk plays a central role in providing procedural, legislative, administrative and organisational support to the governing board to ensure that the governing board are meeting their statutory duties and working in accordance with the legal framework. 

Functions of the clerk to the governing board

It states in The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013 that the clerk to the governing board must:

  • Attend meetings of the governing board and ensure minutes of the proceedings are produced in accordance with regulations;
  • Maintain a register of members of the governing board and of associate members and report any vacancies to the governing board; and
  • Perform such other tasks as may be determined by the governing board from time to time.

Cumbria Clerk's Handbook

This Handbook provides information and outlines basic processes and procedures.  Also included are suggested templates for example parent and staff election pack, chair/vice chair election process/protocol.  

For new governors it is important that they feel welcomed into the governing board and school community as well as having the necessary information and support to fulfill their role with confidence. We have developed a governor appointment/induction letter, see appendix 3, that you may find useful.

All templates can be adapted to suit the needs of each individual governing board. 

You may already be working in a clerks cluster.  If not then please look at our Cluster Working page where you will find details of the benefits of cluster working and how we can support you in setting up a clerks cluster group.