All schools have governing bodies made up of different categories of governors. All Catholic school governing bodies are made up of foundation governors but may also include parent governors, staff governors, the head teacher (or equivalent), local authority governors and co-opted governors.
The main role of the governing body is to operate at a strategic level, leaving the head teacher and senior school leaders responsible and accountable to the governing body for the operational day-to-day running of the school. As such, the three core functions of the governing body are:
1. Ensuring clarity of the Catholic vision, ethos and strategic direction;
2. Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance and Catholic character of the school and its pupils; and
3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
Foundation governors are specifically appointed by the Bishop to ensure the preservation and development of the school’s Catholic character, to ensure that the school is being conducted as a Catholic school, and to represent the Bishop’s education policy to the governing body. However, all categories of governor in a Catholic school are required to preserve and develop the Catholic character of the school in addition to their other legal duties. Foundation governors always outnumber all other governors by at least two so as to ensure a majority vote where matters of particular Catholic importance arise.
Governors come in all shapes and sizes and there is no magic formula when it comes to putting together a successful governing body. But it is important that each governing body has a good mix of skills, knowledge and experiences.
The Catholic Academies and Schools Office manages the process for the appointment of foundation governors, provides support to governing bodies in carrying out their statutory responsibilities and their responsibilities to the Bishop and promotes the development of governors through regular newsletters, briefings and training courses.
‘I believe God has given me certain talents and skills and wants me to use them for the good of my neighbour. What better way to use them than in helping students achieve their full potential and, at the same time, foster their their journey of faith.
There is real joy in seeing students prosper in these ways. I can do this by being a Foundation Governor.’ – David Knight, St Edmund’s Catholic Secondary School, Portsmouth
Across the diocese we have 412 foundation governors, serving on the governing bodies of 56 maintained schools and academies. We are very grateful to them for the support and challenge they provide for our schools and for the work they do to help bring about the Bishop’s vision of ‘Bringing people closer to Jesus Christ through His Church’.
With this large number of governors to recruit we are always looking for suitable parishioners to join them. We currently have 69 vacancies for foundation governors across 25 of our schools.
Click on the link below to find out about becoming a foundation governor in one of our schools.
On this page you will be able to access resources to support governors in their key role in leading our schools.
Please click on the links below for further information on the relevant topic.