Code of Conduct
MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT FOR GOVERNORS
Adopted: 27 September 2021 Review Frequency: Every two years
The attached model code of conduct can be used to set out the commitment and expectations required from Governors in order for the Governing Board to properly carry out its work within the school and the community. It can be amended to include specific reference to the ethos of the particular school or group of schools. ‘School’ includes academies, and it applies to all levels of school governance.
Each Governor should be asked to sign a copy of the code, when they join the Governing Board, at the space provided.
There are high expectations of Governing Boards; they are the strategic leaders of the school and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. For maintained schools this is reflected in the law, which states that the purpose of maintained school Governing Boards is to ‘conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school’.
In all types of schools, Governing Boards should have a strong focus on the following three core strategic functions:
Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff; and
Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
The National Governance Association (NGA) recognises the following as the fourth core function of governance:
ensuring the voices of stakeholders are heard
It is important that Governing Boards play a strategic role and avoid routine involvement in operational matters and the day-to-day running of the school. It should focus strongly on holding the Headteacher to account for exercising his/her professional judgement in these matters and all of their other duties. The focus of the three core functions includes:
Establishing the strategic direction, by:
Setting and ensuring clarity of vision, values, and objectives for the school(s)/trust
Agreeing the school improvement strategy with priorities and targets
Meeting statutory duties
Ensuring accountability, by:
Appointing the lead executive/headteacher (where delegated)
Monitoring the educational performance of the school/s and progress towards agreed targets
Performance managing the lead executive/headteacher (where delegated)
Engaging with stakeholders
Contributing to school self-evaluation
Overseeing financial performance, by:
Setting the budget
Monitoring spending against the budget
Ensuring money is well spent and value for money is obtained
Ensuring risks to the organisation are managed
It is also imperative that Governors ensure that other key players with a stake in the organisation get their voices heard by:
Gathering the views of pupils, parents and staff and reporting on the results.
Reaching out to the school’s wider community and inviting them to play their part.
Using the views of stakeholders to shape the school’s culture and the underpinning strategy, policies and procedures.
“School Governor Services believe that all children and young people should thrive in schools that are ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and in order to achieve this schools need effective governance”
Wakefield Council School Governor Services
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE GOVERNING BOARD OF
As governors / trustees, we will focus on our strategic functions:
ensuring there is clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils and the performance management of staff
overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent
ensuring the voices of stakeholders are heard
*As individuals on the board we agree to abide by the Seven Nolan Principles of Public Life (see Annex)
As Governors we will fulfil our role & responsibilities:
We accept that our role is strategic and so will focus on our core functions rather than involve ourselves in day to day management.
*For those working within a multi academy trust: We will fulfil our role and responsibilities as set out in our scheme of delegation (specific to individual Trust).
We will develop, share and live the ethos and values of our school/s.
We agree to adhere to school/trust policies and procedures as set out by the relevant governing documents and law.
We will work collectively for the benefit of the school/s.
We will be candid but constructive and respectful when holding senior leaders to account.
We will consider how our decisions may affect the school/s and local community.
We will stand by the decisions that we make as a collective.
Where decisions and actions conflict with the Seven Principles of Public Life or may place pupils at risk, we will speak up and bring this to the attention of the relevant authorities.
We will only speak or act on behalf of the board if we have the authority to do so.
We will fulfil our responsibilities as a good employer, acting fairly and without prejudice.
When making or responding to complaints we will follow the established procedures.
We will strive to uphold the school’s / trust’s reputation in our private communications (including on social media).
*We will not discriminate against anyone and will work to advance equality of opportunity for all.
Demonstrate our commitment to the role:
We will involve ourselves actively in the work of the board, and accept our fair share of responsibilities, serving on committees or working groups where required.
We will make every effort to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend explain in advance why we are unable to.
We will arrive at meetings prepared, having read all papers in advance, ready to make a positive contribution and observe protocol.
We will get to know the school/s well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
We will visit the school/s and when doing so will make arrangements with relevant staff in advance and observe school and board protocol.
When visiting the school in a personal capacity (i.e. as a parent or carer), we will continue to honour the commitments made in this code.
We will participate in induction training and take responsibility for developing our individual and collective skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis.
Build and maintain relationships:
We will develop effective working relationships with school leaders, staff, parents and other relevant stakeholders from our local community/ communities.
We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all our communications with board members and staff both inside and outside of meetings.
*We will work to create an inclusive environment where each board member’s contributions are valued equally.
We will support the chair in their role of leading the board and ensuring appropriate conduct.
We will observe complete confidentiality both inside and outside of school when matters are deemed confidential or where they concern individual staff, pupils or families.
We will not reveal the details of any governing board vote.
We will ensure all confidential papers are held and disposed of appropriately.
We will maintain confidentiality even after we leave office.
Declare conflicts of interest and be transparent:
We will declare any business, personal or other interest that we have in connection with the board’s business and these will be recorded in the Register of Business Interests.
We will also declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of any meeting should the need arise.
If a conflicted matter arises in a meeting, we will offer to leave the meeting for the duration of the discussion and any subsequent vote.
We accept that the Register of Business Interests will be published on the school/trust’s website.
We will act in the best interests of the school/trust as a whole and not as a representative of any group.
We accept that in the interests of open governance, our full names, date of appointment, terms of office, roles on the governing board, attendance records, relevant business and pecuniary interests, category of governor and the body responsible for appointing us will be published on the school’s website.
We accept that information relating to board members will be collected and recorded on the DfE’s national database of governors (Get information about schools), some of which will be publicly available.
*New statement added in 2021
We understand that potential or perceived breaches of this code will be taken seriously and that a breach could lead to formal sanctions.
Adopted by Kingsland School Governing Body on 27 September 2021
Signed …Mr Ray Spencer, Chair of Governors
The Kingsland School Governing Body agree that this code of conduct will be reviewed every two years, upon significant changes to the law and policy or as needed and it will be endorsed by the Full Governing Board.
The Seven Principles of Public Life
Originally published by the Nolan Committee: The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations)
Selflessness - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Objectivity - Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Accountability - Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful
Leadership – Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.