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Appointing Foundation Governors

Foundation Governors have a vital role in supporting and developing the Christian foundation of the school. Such governors must be regular church attenders as well as having an interest in schools.

Foundation governors are important members of governing body teams in church schools with a specific responsibility in terms of monitoring and developing the Christian distinctiveness of our church schools as well as a concern for standards.

In Chester Diocese there are three types of foundation governors apart from the ex officio: those appointed by a charitable trust; those elected by the PCC of the attached parish; and those appointed by the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) generally based on the nomination of the local minister.

This means that the appointment of both PCC and DBE governors is an important responsibility for the local minister and as we provide a pack which can be downloaded here to help understand the needs of governing bodies and the process for the appointment of governing bodies.

Governing Bodies have overall responsibility for schools; in the light of which, those nominating Foundation Governors are asked to consider whether the person nominated:

  • Has the relevant skills and experience which will give breadth and strength to the Governing Body for the benefit of the School.
  • Has the energy for the job and an interest in the task.
  • Will be committed to the Christian and pastoral support and the wellbeing of the School.
  • Will be committed to ensuring the school’s Christian distinctiveness is constantly developed and addressed during governing body discussions.
  • Will complement the background, experience and skill of the other Governors and the type of people needed to obtain a balanced Governing Body – a skills audit should be undertaken to identify gaps in the expertise and skills of the governing body (an example is available from the Diocese).
  • Will be supported by and supportive of the Headteacher, particularly with regard to the overall needs of the Governing Body.
  • Is willing to challenge professionals appropriately for the benefit of the pupils in the school

It may well be that a difficult decision has to be taken when considering appointing a foundation governor for a further term of office if they no longer fulfil the requirements above.

 

Chester Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) appointed Foundation Governors (and those recommended by the PCC and appointed by the DBE)

It is recommended that all governors are appointed by the Board of Education
Governor’s term of office is due to expire:

  1. The annual skills audit of the governing body is consulted and any skills gaps identified in consultation with the headteacher, chair of governors and relevant clergy. If an annual skills audit is not undertaken (governing bodies are strongly recommended to undertake this annually) then a skills audit takes place as above prior to appointment.
  2. The local incumbent will (if appropriate) contact the governor and ask if they wish to stand for a further term.
  3. If they do not wish to stand or it is decided that the governor does not have the required skills and/or commitment, the vacancy should be advertised to the local congregation (an example advert is available in the appendices) and applications encouraged. It may be also appropriate to advertise the vacancy in neighbouring CE and other Trinitarian churches or on the SGOSS website. The ‘foundation governor expectations’ information should be shared with any potential candidates.
  4. The proposed governor (both those standing for reappointment or for the first time) fills in the application form and has their faith commitment confirmed by their local church.
  5. In consultation with the headteacher and chair, a decision is made as to whether to nominate the governor. If more than one person applies for the vacancy than the decision should be made based on the skills audit and the expression of interest form as to who best fulfils the current needs of the governing body.
  6. For those appointed by the DBE on the recommendation of the PCC the forms are sent to the PCC for ratification of the proposal to recommend
  7. The forms are then sent to Sandra Reynolds at Church House.
  8. The DBE make a final decision as to whether to accept the nomination (clergy may be contacted to confirm details).
  9. A letter is sent out from Church House formally appointing the governor to the post and the Local Authority informed for LA maintained schools.

Parochial Church Council (PCC) appointed Foundation Governors


Governor’s term of office is due to expire:
The above procedures are followed to number 4.

  1. In consultation with the headteacher and chair, a decision is made as to whether to nominate the governor to the PCC. If more than one person applies for the vacancy than the decision should be made based on the skills audit and the expression of interest form as to who best fulfils the current needs of the governing body.
  2. The nomination is made to the PCC
  3. The PCC make a final decision as to whether to accept the nomination and ratify the appointment.
  4. The forms are then sent to Sandra Reynolds at Church House.
  5. A letter is sent out from Church House welcoming the governor as a PCC appointment and the Local Authority informed for LA maintained schools.

The ex officio governor may choose to transfer either of these processes to the PCC.

NB The Local Authority will not record the governor’s details until they have received confirmation from the DBE office.

Resignations

If a foundation governor tenders their resignation it is important that this information is sent to the office so that our records are kept up to date and the Local Authority or clerk  informed.

Foundation Governors are essential to a Church School, it is therefore imperative that there are no foundation governor vacancies. If there are difficulties in filling the posts please contact the DBE office to discuss the situation.

Children at other Schools

If a potential Governor lives within your school’s designated area but has chosen to send his/her child to another school, please consider carefully whether it is appropriate for that person to be nominated as a Foundation Governor of your school.

Members of the same Family

It is not advisable for two members of the same family (or two people living together) to serve on the same Governing Body.

Church Commitment

Foundation Governors are normally expected to be active members of a local church (this does not necessarily have to be the local CofE Church) and have the relevant skills, experience, energy, interest and commitment, to the schools distinctive ethos and values and be prepared to sign the Diocesan Nomination.  A clear commitment to the schools distinctive ethos and values is essential.

Membership of more than one Governing Body

It should be considered carefully whether a person has the time to be a Governor of more than one school.

Foundation governor expectations

Personal
As a foundation governor you will be expected to be:

  • an active member of a Christian worshipping community;
  • committed to the work of education within a Christian context;
  • enthusiastic and active in promoting school and parish links;
  • willing to undertake any required safeguarding checks;
  • willing to uphold Church of England foundation.

General
As a governor you will be expected to:

  • take a full active role in the work of the governing body;
  • attend all full governing body meetings and committee meetings as necessary;
  • act as part of a corporate body;
  • act as a link for the PCC or Diocesan Board of Education (as appropriate);
  • attend Diocesan and Local Authority training in order to develop governor skills and knowledge;
  • ensure confidentiality.

Specific responsibilities
As a foundation governor you will be expected to:

  • ensure the Christian ethos of the school is preserved and developed;
  • ensure reports are regularly provided for the PCC on the work of the school (PCC governors), with particular regard to the  development of its Christian foundation;
  • report back to the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE governors) any issues that may arise in the school;
  • ensure that the school provides an act of collective worship for all children every day and that it is in accordance with the tenets and practices of the Church of England;
  • in aided schools encourage the development of the RE syllabus based on Diocesan guidelines;
  • inform the full governing body of any Diocesan advice and guidance;
  • ensure that the School Development Plan includes strategy for the development of areas reflected in the SIAS ‘toolkit’;
  • inform the Diocese when headteacher posts become vacant and invite a representative of the Diocesan Director of Education to attend the appointments procedure;
  • be prepared to offer challenge and support to the school and parish as they strengthen their links;
  • regularly promote the school through the parish events/magazines/newsletters and promote the parish through school newsletters/events etc.

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Individual Schools – Details about individual schools including inspection reports can be found here. A Google map showing the position of Church of England schools in the Diocese is here.

Looking for a post in a Church of England school? To see current vacancies in church schools in the Diocese, click here.
To advertise a post in your school, download a form by clicking here, and email the completed form to Sue Noakes.