Q Do Forces schools in Germany and Cyprus have Governing Bodies?
A No, they don’t have a Governing Body that exactly replicates those for maintained schools in the UK, but they do have a School Governance Committee, on which staff and parent representatives sit, as well as others from the garrison community. Ofsted inspections report on their role in the Leadership and Management judgement. (see end for Ofsted extract)
Service Children’s Education (SCE) is an Agency of the MOD and is dedicated to the education of the children of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, MoD Personnel and sponsored organisations stationed overseas.
“SCE seeks to provide a first class system of schools and educational support services and aims to provide an effective and efficient education service, from Foundation Stage through to sixth form, and to enable children to benefit from their residence abroad.
Our schools follow the National Curriculum (England), administer national assessments and public examinations, and are inspected by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI). Teachers in SCE schools must have recognised UK professional qualifications and the majority are recruited specially from the United Kingdom for service in our schools.
Our examination and assessment results place us among the leading Local Authorities in the United Kingdom. Reports by Ofsted have been consistently good and compare very favourably with those made on UK schools. The work of schools is backed by our own Inspection Advisory Service which provides the necessary in-service training facilities to ensure that our schools are conversant with developments in the United Kingdom.”
Service Children’s Education is the ‘Appropriate Authority’ in terms of governance of the school. In addition there is a School Governance Committee whose role is to provide a strategic view; act as a critical friend and ensure accountability.
A Parents’ leaflet gives the following information:
Every SCE school has a School Governance Committee (SGC). SGCs have the full backing and support of the Adjutant General and myself as, amongst other things, they play an increasingly important role in monitoring and supporting the work of the school and in particular the work of the headteacher.
SCE schools are keen to attract people in the community who can bring energy, experience and fresh ideas. Those who would make very good members of the School Governance Committee (SGC) might be put off because they think they need to be an expert. Not so – interest, enthusiasm and commitment are much more important.
As with governors in the UK, members of the SGC bring a wealth of experience and interests from many walks of life. SGC members work closely with the school and HQ SCE to help make good decisions and secure the best possible education for the children.
If you’ve never thought of putting yourself forward, but believe schools should give children the best start, please contact your local school.
David G. Wadsworth (Chief Executive)
The leaflet goes on:
There are lots of ways in which you can donate expertise to your child’s school, but one of the most important and responsible is becoming a member of the School Governance Committee.
What do School Governance Committees (SGC) do?
The SGC is a team of people who work closely with the Headteacher to help make key decisions vital to the successful running of the school.
The SGC contributes to decisions that directly affect the education and well-being of the children. It plays an important role in improving standards throughout the school and in monitoring the school’s budget. In other words, it’s a very meaningful role!
How do I volunteer to join the SGC?
SGC members do not need to be parents, know about education or be particular types of people. Whatever your status within the military or civilian community you can make a valuable contribution to the running of the school. You will be able to offer your enthusiasm and commitment and if you are a parent, you’ll understand other parents’ concerns. People with business and management experience, or a host of other skills, can also offer extremely helpful expertise to the school.
What will I get out of it?
Being a member of the School Governance Committee can be a rewarding experience. You’ll be playing an important part in improving the children’s education and supporting the school’s staff – and giving a lot to the school and the community usually means you’ll get a lot back.
It is also an opportunity to develop new skills or practise existing ones that can help you in your day job, like chairing meetings, putting forward suggestions and asking the right questions, speaking in public, helping to appoint staff, and helping other members who are new to the job or have less experience of committee work.
How much time does it take?
The time that SGC members are able to give to the role varies but there are certain things they must be in a position to do, so be aware:
_ the SGC must meet at least once a term
_ SGC members are sometimes asked to serve on a sub-committee which might meet more often
_ meetings are sometimes held during the working day and sometimes during the evening
_ SGC members will need to prepare for meetings and there can be some papers to read
_ the SGC will receive training to help it work well in the unique Service environment – so you need to be prepared to attend at least one training session.
If you think you have something to offer, please contact your local SCE school. (END)
Ofsted comments on the role of School Governance Committees:
“The school governance committee makes an exceptional contribution to students’ education and care. Members are strongly involved in determining the school’s approach to equal opportunities, taking students’ views fully into account. They work hard to ensure the needs of boarders are met, for example, by ensuring that leisure activities on the base are organised in a way that enables them to take part during their free time.” Windsor School, Rheindahlen Germany – Outstanding 2010