You, as a school governor, are represented through your area forum to, the Hampshire Governors' Association, the County Governors' Forum, the Schools Forum and the National Governors' Council. Better communication is the key to making this representation more effective. By understanding the structure, and using it, you can help make the collective voice of governors heard.
What this means for your school
Governors, through their area forum, can share concerns, discuss issues and policy, gain information and advice, and learn from each other.
Through Hampshire Governors' Association (HGA), the bigger issues and concerns can be aired at County Governors' Forum and the County Schools Forum at which HGA, acting on your behalf, is consulted by the Children's Services Policy Review Committee.
Hampshire governors are also represented on the National Governors Association by a member from the Hampshire Governors Association.
This gives governors a powerful influence. At the very least, it provides an early warning from the grass roots of impending problems and issues, and articulates a collective school voice that cannot be easily dismissed.
Since 1988, governors have been key partners and decision makers in the education service in Hampshire. The arrangements made with the County Council ensure your representation right up to national level. The aims of the forum organisation are:
To provide a forum for discussion on matters of mutual interest to governors because of their role and responsibilities.
To ensure that there is effective communication between governors themselves and between governors and the LEA.
To provide and facilitate consultation with governors on issues connected with legal requirements, policy development and new initiatives within the county.
The purpose is to extend the partnership between governors and the County Council in achieving high-quality education in Hampshire schools.
Arrangements for governors' forums at the local level are based on the three Hampshire Education administrative areas: Fleet, Havant, and Western. However, they allow variations according to local needs such as Havant supporting two forums ie. Havant and, separately Fareham and Gosport (see diagram).
A Local Governor Services Officer supports each area forum, along with other area and county staff. Each administrative area can elect four representatives to HGA
The chairperson of the area forum manages the agendas of meetings, which are usually held once a term. Minutes are sent to all the schools' representatives in the area. It is then up to each governing body to decide how widely these should be circulated and how key items should be communicated further.
Attendance at your area forum is open to at least one representative of each school in the area. Agenda items will normally reflect topical issues of interest to governors and perhaps be raised by them. Subject experts are often invited to speak.
You may find it useful to invite your County Councillor to meetings.
If your governing body never mentions the business of the area forum or of HGA, please ask why this is so.
This consists of members of Children's Services Policy Review Committee, education officers and Hampshire Governors' Association. It meets once a term. The Executive Member (wtih special responsibility) for Education chairs the meeting and the Director of Children's Services usually attends.
The County Governors' Forum may deal with concerns aired by area forums or by Hampshire Governors’ Association. Its aim is to draw to the attention of Children's Services Policy Review Committee members and officers issues which are a cause for concern or consultation, or require resolution.
The Forum also discusses new documents, papers and proposals produced by the LA for consideration by the Children's Services Policy Review Committee and welcomes comments from HGA. The papers are forwarded to the members of HGA in time to be considered at the HGA meeting normally held two weeks before the County Governors' Forum.
This meets once a term, two weeks or so before the County Governors' Forum, to deal with an agenda consisting of the tabled items for the coming Forum meeting, concerns raised by area representatives and matters arising from the National Governors' Association
HGA works in partnership with the LEA, ensuring input from local areas to the agenda of the County Governors' Forum, speaking on behalf of governors and being prepared to be consulted by the LEA as representatives of all Hampshire governors. HGA also appoints one non-voting member of Children's Services Policy Review Committee. Parent governor representatives on the Committee are invited to attend HGA meetings.
It is part of the brief of area representatives to feed back to their local forum items of interest from both HGA and County Forum meetings.
For more information visit the Hampshire Governors' Association web page.
The stated aims of HGA are:
To provide a Hampshire governors' perspective on educational matters at county and national level.
To foster good practice in governing bodies and exchange ideas within the county.
The Schools Forum is a statutory non-executive advisory group with terms of reference set by the Education Act 2002. The County Council shall consult the Forum on:-
1. The Schools Funding Formula
2. The terms of any proposed contract for supplies or services paid from the Schools Budget
3. In connection with the arrangements for:
a. for the education of pupils with Special Education Needs.
b. for the use of pupil referral units and the education of children other than at school.
c. for early school years education.
d. for insurance.
e. for revisions to the authority's scheme for the financing of schools.
f. for allocation of Government grants paid to schools.
g. for free school meals.
And other matters concerning the funding of schools.
Membership of the Schools Forum is made up from representatives of :- the Executive Member (with special responsibility) for Education of Hampshire County Council (1); Early Years (2); Trades Union (2); proportional to school numbers, Heads of Primary (7), Secondary (5), Special Schools (2), Diocesan Schools (2); Governors - Primary (7), Secondary (5), Special Schools (2).
The most difficult task of HGA is communication back to schools. All HGA, County Governors' Forum and area forum minutes are published here on Hantsweb, the County Council website [www3.hants.gov.uk/education/governors].
HGA representatives take information and developments back to their local meetings. They then depend upon school representatives to ensure that information from HGA and County Forum gets back to each school.
Hampshire Governors' Association elects two members to represent Hampshire governors at the National Governors' Association. Hampshire is a founder-member of the Council, which aims to represent governors nationally at the highest level. Much informative discussion and literature arise from its activities.
HGA members again have a role in disseminating useful information to local level.
For more information visit the National Governors' Association website (please note the new website will be available shortly).
The stated aim of the National Governors' Association is:
To be an independent forum for all associations of governing bodies and to act as the national representative and consultative body to government and other appropriate organisations.