a) In the United Kingdom, school governors are the superintendents of a school. In state schools they have three main functions:
• Giving the school a clear vision, ethos and direction;
• Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
• Supervise the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
They are the largest volunteer force in the country. Most schools work with a group of school governors and together they are called the “Governing body”. The governing body of a school is responsible for the standards of education, the recruitment of staff and the management of the premises. School governors work in cooperation with the school and with all the staff to set aims and objectives, develop policies and review progress regularly, implementing the recommendations of inspections. They also help to make big decisions about the school’s long-term goals. They support head teachers and make sure they are taking the school in the right direction. They provide support and advice taking into consideration the requirements of parents and the entire community. Also, school governors set a long term strategic direction for the institution including policies regarding uniform, discipline, sports and homework; spending the budget; reaching performance targets; dealing with complaints; decisions on academic matters and in some cases admissions; managing staff and the maintenance of the school property.
If the school has no foundation or equivalent body, the foundation governors are replaced by partnership governors appointed by the governing body. The governing body can appoint 2 people as sponsor governors or up to 4 where the school is a secondary school. Associate members can be appointed to serve on one or more governing body committees and attend full governing body meetings. Pupils, school staff and people who want to contribute specifically on issues related to their area of expertise can be appointed as associate members for a period of between one and four years, but they are not governors.
b) The Senior Management Team (SMT) usually consists of the Head Teacher, the Deputy Head Teacher(s) and the Assistant Head Teacher(s) (in secondary schools). While the Head Teacher has the overall responsibility of the school, including staff, year group leaders, SENCO, pupils and educational issues, the other members of the SMT usually have their area to manage within the school environment, being directly accountable to the Head. The senior management team is responsible for planning and directing the work of groups of individuals, monitoring their work and taking corrective action when necessary. The members of the SMT make sure that there is a good relationship between the members of staff and they also get support to promote their professional development. They meet once a week to discuss issues and make decisions concerning the running of the school and discuss communication strategies between teachers and support staff. The strategic management includes the development, implementation and regular review of the Whole School Development Plan, regarding not only the management of teaching and learning but also financial management and external relations with the community outside of school.
c) The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) has a statutory critical role to play together with the head teacher and the governing body in ensuring that children with special educational needs and disabilities within the school receive the support they need. The SENCO is not only responsible for a high-quality teaching for SEN pupils, but also take care of their records and keep in touch with their parents. In the most recent Code of Practice, the SENCO must be a qualified teacher and a newly appointed SENCO must also achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years of appointment. The SENCO has the following responsibilities:
• Supervise the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy;
• Support the identification of children with special educational needs;
• Monitor and review the provisions for children with SEN;
• Collaborate with parents of children with SEN;
• Cooperate with other providers, educational psychologists and external agencies, in respect of the children with special educational needs;
• Ensure that the school keeps the relevant records of all pupils with SEN updated;
• Ensure that appropriate individual education plans are in place.
d) Classroom Teachers are responsible for the education of children at school. Teacher’s role is to plan, prepare and deliver lessons to balance the requirements of the National Curriculum and the needs of all pupils by setting and marking work and recording pupil development as necessary. Teachers responsibilities are to help pupils improve education for their future, to identify emotional, intellectual, physical issues which may stop or reflect on pupils learning to their full potential. They present a caring but professional approach to their pupils and have the duty to record their development with the help of marked assignments to monitor each child’s individual progress.
e) There are many different Support Staff roles within a school, these include:
Learning Support Staff (Teaching Assistants and high-level teaching assistants): These professionals work directly under the Teacher’s direction, supporting their day-to-day work in the classroom and helping pupils progress with their learning.
Administrative Staff: School administrators give a secretarial support to the whole school, while the technical staff makes sure that the IT equipment and other teaching resources are in adequate condition for use in education. They provide essential back up services for the whole school.
Welfare and Support Staff: Pupil support staff is responsible for pupils outside the classroom, break, lunchtime and outside school hours.
Specialist and Technical Support Staff: They work in schools to provide support and resources that are needed for teaching and learning. These professionals include Science technicians, Food technicians, Librarians, Library Assistants, ICT Technicians, Design and Technology Technicians and Sports Coaches.
Site Staff: The site staff consists of the maintenance staff who takes care of the building and premises of the school and the kitchen staff who gets meals ready for lunchtime. These professionals play an important role in schools, ensuring that the environment is clean, safe and tidy and that meals are available at lunchtimes.
There is a huge range of external professionals who may work with a school; these include:
Education Psychologist, who will support the SENCO in providing assessments and observations to pupils who have addition needs;
Speech and Language Therapists, who work with pupils on speech, language and communications producing and understanding language;
Specialist Teachers, who offer advice and support to pupils with a range of needs including, behavioural, social and communication needs, such as autism and English as addition language;
Educational welfare officers, who visit schools and work with the head teacher to monitor pupils’ attendance, provide support with issues around absences and work with parents to support excluded pupils on their return.
Schools Improvement Partner, who works alongside the local education authority. A school improvement partner provides professional support to a number of schools maintained by one or more authorities by acting as a critical professional friend to the schools, helping their leadership to evaluate the schools’ performance, identify priorities for improvement and plan effective change, helping build the schools’ capacity to improve pupils’ achievement; providing challenge and support for the senior leadership team in the schools; and providing information to governing bodies on their schools’ performance and development.