What is a “Clerk to the Governors” of a school? #1

I noticed the Kent Teach blog while browsing the site the other day, and thought it might be informative for readers if I started a blog on the role of Clerk to Governors, which is my part-time job in schools.

I cover five schools for the Kent Clerking Service, ranging from a small rural village Primary School with a handful of staff, to an all-through (i.e. Primary to 16+) Special School. None of my schools are Academies, but the principles of Clerking for Governing Bodies (or Boards) are the same whichever type of school you work in.

It’s a job that schools, and the Education Service (or as it will soon become The Education People) can find tricky to fill, maybe because it’s a bit of a mystery about what it involves.

This is a shame because the role gives a great insight into schools and education for those who are interested. The Clerk provides vital support for the Governing Body, adds value to the school, and it’s a “nice little earner” if you want some part time work with people, involving a bit of brainpower. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easy money, because there’s a lot more to it than going to meetings and jotting down a few notes!

Before explaining the role of the Clerk, it might help if I briefly explain the role of a school Governing Body. As a Kent Teach reader I’m sure you know this, but I won’t make the assumption, just in case…..

In simple terms, Governors are unpaid volunteers who form the “Board” responsible for the strategic management and oversight of a school, and meet periodically to discuss this. 

Governors do not get involved in day to day operational running of the school. Their role is to monitor and challenge information such as school results, policies and financial reports, and carry out monitoring visits, to ensure that the Headteacher and school staff are delivering the objectives in their School Plan, and getting best outcomes for the children. Think of the board of directors of a small (and sometimes not so small) business, meeting the Managing Director to check on how the firm is being run against its business plan.

The Headteacher attends the Governing Body meetings, providing the reports against agreed headings, and Governors are free to ask them to explain any aspect of this information, so they can show they are fulfilling their duty to hold the school to account.

Fulfilling their duty to whom? Lots of people have a stake in this, from the Local Authority and Ofsted, to staff and parents. But at the end of the day the only people who matter are the children. Governors must ensure that the children at the school are getting the education to which they are entitled.

This is where the Clerk comes in, as the paid professional supporting the Governors in this task (although it’s not always best to emphasise the “paid” bit, as they are doing it for love, not money) and next time I’ll explain more about the role itself. 

Check out these 5 benefits of giving.

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