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All About Us

Governor FAQs

Welcome to our webpage. As parents and carers, you may often wonder what governors do on a day to day basis. We have put together a selection of some of the most common questions we have been asked about our role. We hope it will give you a broad outline of our working methods and responsibilities…

Why do we have Governors?

What do you do?

A Governing Body is there to help the school provide the best possible education for your children by:

  • Working strategically to help raise standards
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress made towards agreed priorities and targets
  • Supporting the Head teacher and staff as well as challenging their expectations
  • Accounting to all interested parties or stakeholders for the decisions made in trying to achieve the above
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

Code of Conduct

This code sets out the expectations on and commitment required from school governors, trustees and academy committee members in order for the governing board to properly carry out its work within the school/s and the community.

Who are the Governors at St. Joseph's?

The Governing Body is made up of governors from 4 different categories:

7 Foundation Governors including our Parish Priest. They are practising Catholics who have been appointed by the Diocese to represent the interest of the Diocese in preserving and developing the Catholic ethos of the school.

The Foundation Governors are:

  • Mrs Teresa Barnard
  • Mr Dominic Dow *  (Chair of Governors) 
  • Mr Bryan Menezes
  • Mrs Angela Shaw  * (Vice Chair of Governors) 
  • Fr Trevor Welland

(* Denotes that these Foundation Governors also currently have children within the school)

2 Parent Governors who are elected by the parents of the school. They bring to the Governing body their personal experience as parents of St Joseph’s children. Parent Governors are “representative parents” rather than “representatives of the parents”.

Our current Parent Governors are:

  • Mrs Joanna Winton
  • Vacancy

1 Local Authority Governor –is nominated by the West Sussex County Council Central Mid Sussex County Local Committee (CLC)

The current Local Authority Governor is: 

  • Mrs Helen Bilton

2 Staff Governors including the Head Teacher:

Our Staff Governors are:

  • Mr Jake Philpott
  • Mrs Catherine Walker

The Governing Body has a Chair (Dominic Dow), who leads and manages the governors, and a Clerk (Teresa Mangan) who advises governors on their functions and duties, thereby ensuring that the team operates efficiently and effectively. One of the governors is also a Link Governor, whose role is to be aware of the knowledge and skills held by members of the Governing Body.

The primary interest of St. Joseph’s Governing Body is to ensure high and rising standards of education for all pupils in the school.

The Governing Body delegate functions to various committees, who report back to the full Governing Body at regular intervals with recommendations for approval. The Governing Body also tasks individual governors to take an interest in a specific area, such as Special Educational Needs (SEN) for example.


What are your responsibilities?

Governors “govern” the school and are not responsible for the day to day management issues.

All governors are appointed /elected not as delegates but as individuals to provide a view that is representative of a parent’s, Diocese’s or member of staff’s perspective. 

A Governor’s role includes:

  • Working with the Head teacher and staff to ensure that the school fulfils its legal and moral duty to promote and safeguard the welfare of the children.
  • Setting the overall budget for the school
  • Agreeing the priorities for improving the school as part of the overall School Development Plan (SDP)

Monitoring and Accountability:

  • Ensuring that the school fulfils its educational and financial targets and has appropriate plans in place to meet the performance objectives.
  • Ensuring accountability to the community for the use of resources and the standards of teaching and learning in the school.
  • Supporting the Head Teacher and staff, both in terms of challenging and seeking improvement, as well as praising and celebrating achievement.

Can we ask a Governor (especially a parent Governor) for help?

A Parent Governor, just like all governors, has to maintain a strategic approach to school governance. Although being available to advise parents on appropriate routes of action is an important aspect of the role, it is vital that governors do not become personally involved in individual concerns. Apart from the possibility of this jeopardising appropriate complaints and appeals procedures, no governor has the authority to act individually on the behalf of the school.

From experience, we have found that most concerns can be dealt with quickly and efficiently by talking directly to your class teacher. In addition, the Heads of each Key Stage, the Assistant Head Teachers and the Head Teacher are available to discuss concerns and work with you towards a positive outcome.  In the vast majority of cases, we find that most problems are generally resolved at school level. However, the Governing Body would step in to bring resolution, in the event that all school stage levels of communication had been exhausted.

How are Governors made accountable?

Every year, governors review the Governors’ Code of Conduct and renew their commitment to it. Governors are expected to work as a team for the benefit of the whole school community. Governors must declare any conflict of interest they have with any item of business at any meeting.

Ofsted has published the criteria that inspectors will use to judge the effectiveness of a school’s governance.

Principles to adhere to:

Governors at St. Joseph’s are mindful that in exercising governing body functions, they must act with integrity, objectivity and honesty and in the best interests of the school, and be open about the decisions they make and the actions they take.

How can I find out more about being a school governor?