Thoughts on being a new governor
My first impression is that the governing body has a lot of power but is this real rather than apparent? For example the chair of the Finance committee had to sign off urgent invoices during the holidays but this was really just a matter of protocol - a formality. During discussion about the school's success in curbing expenditure and turning a deficit budget into one that was in the black one of the governors did ask about the consequences of reducing expenditure. The response to this was that performance, that is pupil achievement and attainment, was improving in spite of this so it hadn't had a detrimental effect - there's only one measure of success in schools these days. However what we didn't get were examples of the types of expenditure that had been curtailed and their potential negative impact. It might also be the case that performance could have improved even more haven't been for these reductions.
The school's relationship with the local authority appears to be very strange indeed. The latter pays and employs all the staff but doesn't appear to have any say over their appointment or grading . It sometimes will offer a view on grading but invariably ends up saying: 'Its up to you, governors!' The local authority itself doesn't allocate the budget that it receives from central government to individual schools - this is done according to a national formula. However LAs do have a right to automatically top slice from their allocation, I think it's about 15% from each school's individual budgets for this LA - the amount will vary. The schools don't appear to be able to do much about this although there were some signs of rebellion brewing - this school clearly doesn't think it gets value for money. A report that each school would have to fork out about £500 to pay for a performance management adviser for the head was presented as a requirement of the recent White Paper so would be charged for as an extra. The LA also has control over a capital budget in terms of being able to divide this up between schools although the actual amount is of course set by the national government.