LGB Foundation Governor in a MAT
The Foundation Governor (in maintained schools) and Local Foundation Governor (in academies) has a special role and responsibility for ensuring that the Christian character of the school/academy is secured, preserved and developed and that the school/academy is run in accordance with any trust deed relating to the school.
Foundation Local Governors are representatives of the Church of England on the Local Governing Board of an academy. They should endeavour to cultivate respect for the spiritual and moral beliefs of the Christian tradition, and to create a community in which pupils, cared for as individuals, are helped to find fulfilment as they grow towards adulthood. As an active Christian presence within the academy, they are a vital link with the parish, playing a unique role in strengthening and enriching the dynamic relationship between the academy, Church and the wider community.
Foundation Local Governors have specific roles and responsibilities which will depend on the type of academy in which they operate, but they will all need to work with the PCC and local parish church, the Incumbent and other members of the academy’s Local Governing Committee in upholding the academy’s ethos statement and making sure that the academy is distinctively Christian. They will also have an important role in ensuring that the Directors get sufficient information about the operation of the academy as a Church of England school to enable the Directors to be satisfied that the academy trust’s Objects are upheld in this regard.
A Foundation Local Governor will need to be able to understand and articulate the role of the Church in the academy, and the importance of the academy’s distinctively Christian character; foster and grow those key relationships between and within the Church and the academy; encourage and focus debate in key areas (including Christian vision and values, Collective Worship and Religious Education); and secure that the academy thrives as a Church of England academy.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
There is a lot that you will need to know as a Local Governor. We’d encourage you to take as much advantage as possible of the training opportunities available to you, including those provided by the Diocese. The Lincoln Diocesan Board of Education provides full training programmes for new Governors - Local Governors are strongly urged to take advantage of these.
Church of England academies differ from most other publicly funded schools in a number of ways. For example:
- The academy’s Scheme of Delegation should contain a faith based ethos statement. This document should also provide for the appointment of Foundation Local Governors.
- Like in other Church of England schools, the sites and buildings of Church of England academies are generally owned by site trustees, except for the playing fields. The site trustees (who might, for example be the vicar and churchwardens) hold the land for the specific purposes specified in their trust deed and have a responsibility to ensure that the activities on the site comply with the requirements of the trust deed. Playing fields and any structures thereon are usually owned by the Local Authority and - in the academy context - leased to the academy trust.
WHAT MAKES A CHURCH SCHOOL ACADEMY DISTINCTIVE AND DIFFERENT?
Whilst every school/academy is distinctive and different in some ways, the question of distinctiveness is frequently asked with reference to Church schools and academies. Church schools and academies should be distinctive in their Collective Worship and Religious Education offering, their ethos, and the ways in which their distinctively Christian values are worked into the daily life of the school or academy. Some of the ways in which this might be seen may include:
- A core Christian vision with Christian values embedded across the school or academy;
- A place of distinctive excellence, where all are valued as individuals and as God’s children;
- A safe place where there is no ideological pressure and yet Christian inferences are built into the ethos and the teaching;
- Understanding of, and sensitivity towards, those of other faiths and those of no faith;
- Effective links with the local Church, Diocese and local community.
- Visible signs and symbols of its Christian foundation around the school or academy;
- An inclusive place where selfless care and Christian love is apparent to all;
- Distinctively Anglican Collective Worship that develops a true sense of awe and wonder, follows the liturgical year, and celebrates with the parish significant Christian festivals and feast days;
- High quality Religious Education that is seen as an important part of the curriculum and a core subject;
- A commitment to developing the spiritual dimension both in the formal and the hidden curriculum.
As well as receiving an Ofsted inspection, Church of England academies (like other Church of England schools) are inspected additionally under the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) framework. The inspection will cover (as a minimum) Christian Character, Collective Worship and leadership of the academy as a Church school.
Like in other Church of England schools, Church of England academies must provide a daily act of Collective Worship in accordance with the academy’s trust deed/the Anglican tradition. Special importance should be given to the study of Religious Education, with RE being a core subject within the academy.
THE WIDER ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNOR
The specific responsibilities of Local Governors will depend on what the Board of Directors of the multi-academy trust delegate to the Local Governing Committee (which may change from time to time) - further details should be available in the academy’s Scheme of Delegation. However, anyone becoming a Local Governor should be prepared to take on the kind of role akin to that of a Governor in a maintained school and will need to have the skills and otherwise be in a position to contribute appropriately to the Local Governing Committee and the effective governance of the academy.
The Government provides guidance on the role of Academy Directors and Local Governors in its “Governance Handbook” (the latest version of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governance-handbook.
How many other Foundation Local Governors will there be?
The precise composition of the Local Governing Committee varies from academy to academy. The composition will be specified in the multi-academy trust’s Articles of Association Scheme of Delegation which sets out the delegation of responsibility from the Board of Directors to the Local Governing Committee of a particular academy.
How will they be appointed?
Please download the LGB Foundation Governor appointment process for MATs document.