Copmanthorpe Primary School

The Role of the Governing Body

What Governors do

An important part of the role of the governing body is to help set the vision and values for the school, and the policies and procedures that act as a framework for how the school is run. The daily management of the school is the responsibly of the Headteacher.   

At Copmanthorpe Primary the full governing body normally meets five times a year to discuss and agree the school’s business. In addition there are a number of sub-committees that meet more regularly to monitor progress, review policies and make recommendations. These  cover:

  • Finance & Staffing
  • Assessment & Curriculum
  • Health, Safety & Premises
  • Pupils
  • Headteacher Performance Management

We also go into school to attend events and to meet with the Headteacher, other members of staff and pupils to help us to find out how the school is progressing towards its targets.

What our Role is

The primary role of the governing body is to help the school provide the best possible education for their pupils by:

  • Thinking and working strategically to help raise standards
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress towards the school’s priorities and targets
  • Supporting the head and staff as well as challenging their expectations – called being a ‘critical friend’
  • Accounting to all stakeholders for the school’s overall performance and for the decisions they have made

Setting the Strategic Direction

The governing body is there to ensure the school is focused on raising standards of achievement and sets high expectations so that all our children reach their potential. To do this we help decide what the school wants to achieve (the vision and aims), and make plans to get there. 

We provide the framework for how the Headteacher and staff should run the school through:

  • Deciding what the school wants to achieve (the vision) and making plans to get there
  • Ensuring there are systems in place to check progress is being made
  • Helping to set the school’s policies and keeping these under review
  • Ensuring that the curriculum is balanced and broadly based and that the National Curriculum and religious education are taught
  • Ensuring effective use of resources to achieve the school's priorities, including approving how the budget should be spent

Being a Critical Friend

A key role of the governors is to support the Headteacher and the staff – the phrase often used to describe this role is ‘a critical friend’. In this role the Governors are there to:

  • Recognise and celebrate the achievements of the school, know where the school is not achieving as well as it could and provide support and encouragement when strategies to bring about improvement are being explored
  • Strike an appropriate balance between support and challenge


Finally as schools have a responsibility for the education and well-being of the pupils and are spending public money there needs to be accountability. The governing body:

  • Is required to conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement
  • Must be prepared to account for the school’s overall performance to explain its decisions and actions to anyone who has a legitimate interest

If you would like to know more about the role of the governors in the running of the school, please let us know.