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What is a Governing Body?

The Composition of our Governing Body

At Menheniot Primary we have:


  • The Headteacher

  • One Staff Governor

  • Two Parent Governors

  • Zero Community Governors

  • Two Foundation Governors

  • Seven Co-opted, including one staff (Governors elected by the members of the Governing Body who are not themselves co-opted Governors)



Our Governors usually meet as a Governing Body once a term. This is the meeting where all major decisions are made. However this is our minimum and sometimes it is necessary to meet more often, for example, when setting the budget. Our meetings start at 7:30 pm and are usually on a Thursday evening at the school. They generally last between 2 and 3 hours, but this depends on the agenda and the matters which need to be discussed.

Roles within the Governing Body


The Chair

The Chair is elected by the Governing Body. Anyone who works at the school can not take the role of Chair. The Chair leads the Governor’s Meeting and carries out particular tasks, such as signing off the school budget.


The Vice-Chair

The Vice-Chair supports the Chair and he or she may be delegated specific tasks.



Governing Bodies use a committee structure to ensure that their role and responsibilities are carried out efficiently. All Governors belong to at least one committee and sometimes more than one. At Menheniot Primary School, we have the following committees:


  • Finance & Buildings

This committee sets the annual budget, monitors costs and authorises any major items of expenditure. It is also concerned with the maintenance and safety of the school buildings and grounds. It usually meets once a term, although there are sometimes additional meetings according to need, for example, during budget setting.


  • Curriculum

This committee deals with curriculum matters and policies, the School Improvement Plan, assessment data and curriculum development and monitoring. It also meets once a term.


  • Personnel

This committee meets as and when it is needed. It looks at areas such as staffing issues, appointments, redundancies, Performance Management and dismissals.


We also have committees for:

  • Appeals

  • Teacher Discipline

  • Headteacher Performance Management


Particular committees can be given delegated powers to make decisions which do not then need the approval of the full Governing Body. Committee meetings are formal meetings and they are required to have defined duties, with minutes taken and decisions recorded. The Terms of Reference set out the duties allocated to each committee. Committee meetings usually last between one and two hours.


Working Groups

Sometimes it may be necessary for Governors to form a working party to investigate a particular initiative or issue. These are likely to be temporary and to run only as long as they are needed for.


Subject and Class Governors

Governors may be allocated to different classes and subjects. This means that they take a special interest in the area allocated to and if a class Governor, may go and help in the classroom or accompany the class on educational visits. If allocated to a subject, the Governor will be expected to work with the subject co-ordinator so that they become aware of the strengths and weaknesses and are knowledgeable about any relevant assessment data.


The Clerk

The Governing Body is supported by the Clerk. Although the Clerk is not entitled to vote, they are considered to be an integral part of the Governing Body. They provide advice and updates on the administrative structure and regulations and help the Governors to interpret the latter. The Clerk also prepares and distributes the minutes and agendas and deals with any correspondence.