What do we do?
St Nicholas CE VA Primary School, Harpenden, is fortunate to have a committed team of governors who play an important role in the leadership of the school and have responsibility for the school’s overall strategic direction.
The governors are unpaid volunteers who, by donating a significant amount of their time, have developed an extensive knowledge of St Nicholas and are passionate supporters of the school. They are either elected or appointed to serve a four year term of office. The exceptions to this are the Rector and Headteacher, who remain governors for the duration of their time in that role. Many of our governors serve more than one term of office, which further extends the wealth of experience and depth of knowledge available to the Governing Body.
The Governing Body acts as a group. We have a range of duties and powers and a general responsibility for the conduct of the School.
- the aims and policies of the school;
- how the standards of education can be improved;
- how the school should be run in general terms;
- how to spend the school budget.
- are accountable to the Local Authority, the Diocesan Board of Education, parents and the wider community for the performance of the school, securing the best possible outcome for each child;
- make sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special needs or disabilities;
- work with the Headteacher and staff to draw up the School Development Plan;
- in conjunction with broader learning experiences, we make sure that the National Curriculum and Religious Education are being taught and report on the National Curriculum assessments and examination results;
- select the Headteacher and Deputy (or Assistant) Headteacher;
- make sure proper procedures are in place for appointing, promoting, supporting and disciplining staff;
- oversee the way the school is managed, including matters relating to buildings;
- make decisions on the school's budget, staffing and resources, ensuring best value for money.
We are a Voluntary Aided School, which means we have more autonomy in some areas of policy than governing bodies of other types of schools. We differ in that we are responsible for:
- the Admission Policy of the school and control admissions;
- the buildings and their upkeep;
- setting the Religious Education and Collective Worship Policy
- we are the employers of the staff in the school.
The Governing Body acts as a ‘critical friend’ by:
- working in partnership with the whole school community;
- working very closely with and supporting the Headteacher and staff;
- promoting the interests of the school and its pupils
- monitoring, evaluating and being accountable for the school’s effectiveness;
- asking challenging questions and continually striving for improvement throughout the school.
The full Governing Body meets 4-5 times each year and the minutes of these meetings are available on this website. Smaller committees with specific and differing functions meet in addition to the full Governing Body, thereby extending the work and reach of the Governing Body. These committees have delegated responsibilities from the full Governing Body and frequently report back to the full Governing Body.
The Governing Body communicates with parents via an annual Governors' Newsletter which explain the Governing Body's most recent involvement in leading and managing the school. From time to time, usually in the Autumn Term, a parents’ questionnaire is sent to all families to obtain views on specific areas of school life. In addition, the Governing Body endeavours to create opportunities to come face to face with parents at a variety of school events.
Parents are welcome to contact the Governors by e-mail or through the School Office. However, please kindly note that any individual queries regarding your child in school should in the first instance be directed to your child’s class teacher and then the Headteacher if required. If necessary, the Headteacher will consult with the Governing Body regarding any unresolved queries.
We are a corporate body, so individual governors are generally protected from personal liability, provided that we act honestly, reasonably and in good faith.
We have a Constitution which is written up in a legal document called the Instrument of Government. This sets out the number of members in each category of governor and confirms that the school has a Christian foundation.
Types of Governors
The Governing Body of St Nicholas School is skills-based. We have fourteen members on our Governing Body.
Foundation Governors (8):
They have a special responsibility for ensuring that the character of the school as a Church of England Voluntary Aided School is preserved and developed.
The Rector is an Ex Officio Foundation Governor, by virtue of being an incumbent of the Parish.
PCC Foundation Governors (5): elected by the Parochial Parish Council.
DBE Foundation Governors (2): elected by the Diocesan Board of Education.
LA Governor (1): Appointed by the Local Authority.
Parent Governors (2): Elected by the Parents.
Headteacher Governor (1): Automatically an Ex Officio governor.
Staff Governor (1): Elected by the staff.
Co-opted Governor (1): Appointed by the Governing Body.
Governors, however appointed, have equal rights to participate in the work of the Governing Body and are expected to contribute their own views and constructively challenge decisions. However, they always work as a team and are bound by the collective decisions of that team.
Please explore the other pages in this section of the website to find out more information about our governors.
Under the Governors tab:
- Who's who
- Other information
- Governor minutes
- Governor newsletters
Paper copies of information on this website can be supplied to parents/carers free of charge via the school office.