School Governance

Governance at Southwark Primary School

What does a school governor do?

Welcome to the Governor’s page. School governors make a valuable contribution to children’s education, opportunities and futures.

Being a school governor at Southwark is a challenging but hugely rewarding role. It is an opportunity to make a real difference for our pupils, give something back to the local community and use and develop skills in a board-level environment. Southwark Primary School is part of ONE Academy Trust, meaning that the local governance of the school forms part of a wider governance structure across the Trust.

Governors set the aims and objectives for the school and set the policies and targets for achieving those aims and objectives. They monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making, alongside the executive team, and act as a source of challenge and support to the headteacher. They may ask relevant questions such as “Is it working?”, “How do we know it is working?” and “How do we get better?” Governors do not need formal qualifications but do need these particular qualities:

  • an interest in the education and well- being of all our children
  • a willingness to ask questions and able to challenge the status quo to continue improvement
  • a time commitment to attend half- termly meetings and pre-arranged monitoring activities
  • a commitment to be part of a team that can make a real difference to the children in our school

Schools need governing boards that have a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience to enable it to be effective. The most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management through the unique experiences, perspectives and insights into decision making that governors bring.

In action, being at Governor at Southwark means:

  • Involvement in the appointment and performance reviews of the head teacher and senior leaders
  • Engaging with pupils, staff, parents, the school community and being the school voice within the Trust
  • Sitting on panels and making decisions about things like pupil exclusions and staff disciplinary
  • Scrutinising a range of education performance markers and issues within the school
  • Looking at data and evidence to ask questions and have challenging conversations about the school 
  • Ensure that school/Trust resources and support are being deployed effectively, and are having a positive impact across all hub schools, based on the priorities identified within individual school action plans;
  • Moderate and ensure consistent delivery of policy implementation within the school;
  • Identify and share effective practice within and between Trust schools;
  • Maintain effective two-way communications with the Board of Trustees;
  • Oversee elements of the risk register and other matters delegated by the Trust Board of Trustees.

The specific roles and responsibilities of the governing body at Southwark are set out in a document known as the ‘scheme of delegation’.

What will be expected of a school governor?

Governing Body meetings, on average, happen every half term. Information is sent to Governors prior to that, and it is expected that Governors will be familiar with the content prior to meetings. Additionally, Governors often undertake monitoring roles which require them to come to school for a pre-arranged time period to focus on particular aspect, e.g. Safeguarding. The number of meetings and monitoring activities may vary depending on the needs of the school.

Like magistrates or members of a jury, school governors have a right to reasonable time off work for their public duties, although this may be unpaid. Your company’s HR department will be able to tell you about its policy.

Within ONE we set a term of office for our governors– this is four years. Many people choose to serve multiple terms, however as a volunteer you can resign before your term is finished if your circumstances change.

Each individual governor is a member of a governing board, which is established in law as a corporate body. Individual governors may not act independently of the rest of the governing board; decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing board.

Governance is a voluntary role and therefore it is not paid.

Governance Statement (How governance works within ONE Academy Trust)

The Southwark Primary School Local Governing Body (LGB) is a committee of the ONE Academy Trust Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees has delegated responsibility to the local governing body to fulfil governance functions related to Southwark Primary School. These are set out in our Scheme of Delegation and our Terms of Reference (copies available on the ONE Academy Trust website).

If you wish to see a copy of the agendas and minutes and/or documents considered at governing body meetings, please contact the school office (see Contact Us). These can be made available on request. Please note that confidential information cannot be released.

Please note: ONE Academy Trust used to be called Willows Academy Trust. We are currently re-branding all our policies and documents etc. so please bear with us as we make the necessary changes and populate our new ONE Academy Trust website.

This diagram illustrates our organisational structure and where the Local Governing Body fits in.

  governance structure

Southwark Primary’s Local Governing Body (LGB) consists of up to 9 members and a clerk to governors.  Our staff, parent, and co-opted governors work together with a common goal; to provide the best possible school environment and education for our children.

All governing bodies have 3 main roles:

  • to provide strategic direction for the school;
  • to act as a critical friend to the Head Teacher; and
  • to ensure accountability.

The governing body has an active role as part of the school community.  It scrutinises all aspects of school life including teaching and learning, safeguarding and wellbeing, equality & diversity, inclusion and accessibility and behaviour.  The LGB challenges and supports the Head Teacher in their day-to-day running of the school to ensure best practice, value for money and strategic planning.  The LGB take pride in working to support the staff and children so that Southwark can provide a safe, caring and stimulating learning environment where every child can realise his or her potential.  The LGB takes an active part in school life and engage with staff and pupils as part of their role and responsibilities.

The LGB holds full governing body meetings regularly during the school year. They also meet as and when required to address specific areas.  The LGB do not have any regular committees but set these up if needed.  If you wish to see a copy of the agendas and minutes of our meetings, then please contact the school office.  These are available on request. Please note that confidential information cannot be released and will be redacted from the information provided.

All governors are volunteers and at our school we currently have 3 types of governor:

  • Parent governors - parent governors are elected by the parents of children at the school
  • Staff governors - staff governors are elected by the staff at the school.
  • Co-opted governors - representatives from the community. These governors are appointed to the board by the governors because they offer particular experience, skills and knowledge to support the board in its functions.  They may also be parents.

The Head Teacher attends all governing body meetings and is a governor by virtue of their role. All our governors undertake induction training and safeguarding training. They also attend training to improve their knowledge in different areas including data analysis.

Becoming a school governor

Being a school governor is a challenging and rewarding role and governors work hard together to make Southwark Primary School special. Parent governors are appointed by an election process in which all parents/carers of children at school are eligible to stand for election and vote.  When a vacancy becomes available the school will advertise through Class Dojo, as well as on the school website.  Co-opted governors are appointed by the board to support the board with specific skills and expertise.  Perhaps you feel you could not commit to being a full governor but have skills that you could share with us?  We are always interested in welcoming associate governors who can offer their expertise to support particular aspects of school life.  If you interested in becoming a school governor you are welcome to come and have a chat with us at any time to find out more about the role and what it entails.  Please make contact with Diane Dakin, our Clerk to Governors, via the school office - no commitment required!   We offer full induction and training to support you in your role.


What needs to be published on the school website?

In accordance with the Academies Financial Handbook there are requirements placed on academies to publish key information linked to Governance arrangements. This consists of:

the structure and remit of the members, board of trustees, its committees and local governing bodies, and the full names of the chair of each for each member who has served at any point over the past 12 months, their full names, date of appointment, date they stepped down (where applicable), and relevant business and pecuniary interests including governance roles in other educational institutions for each trustee who has served at any point over the past 12 months, their full names, date of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable), who appointed them, and relevant business and pecuniary interests including governance roles in other educational institutions for each local governor who has served at any point over the past 12 months, their full names, date of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable), who appointed them (in accordance with the trust’s articles), and relevant business and pecuniary interests including governance roles in other educational institutions for each trustee their attendance records at board and committee meetings over the last academic year for each local governor their attendance records at local governing body meetings over the last academic year

If you wish to view this information, key documents can be downloaded at the bottom of this page as well as via the ONE Academy Trust website.

ONE Academy Trust Governance section of the ONE Academy Trust website

Southwark Primary School LGB Roles & Responsibilities 2023 2024