Governance

All maintained primary, secondary and special schools in England and Wales are required to have a Governing Body. The Governing Body in our school is made up of a range of volunteers who bring a vast set of skills, knowledge and experience to represent our school community.

Our Governing Body makes decisions which are in the best interest of our children and young people. Fulfilling the role of a school governor is therefore both a serious undertaking and enormously rewarding. Not only do governors bring their own knowledge and skill to the role, but in learning how schools are run, they often develop their understanding of leadership. Most employers appreciate this and are supportive of their staff taking on the responsibility. Contributing to the growth and development of a school and seeing tangible improvements in attainment and well-being of the children is a satisfying and important contribution to the local community.

The Role of the Governing Body

The Governing Body is responsible for the conduct of its school, and must promote high standards of educational achievement at the school. The National Governors’ Association states very clearly that the Governors are the school’s accountable body and as such they:

  • Provide a strategic view of the school by establishing a vision and setting the purpose and aims of the school within an agreed policy framework. They appoint and performance-manage the Headteacher and agree the school improvement strategy which includes setting statutory targets with supporting budgets and staffing structure;
  • Monitor and evaluate the work of the school by reviewing the performance of the Headteacher, the effectiveness of the policy framework, progress towards targets, and the effectiveness of the school improvement strategy;
  • Sign off the self-evaluation process and respond to school improvement and Ofsted reports as necessary. In addition they hold the Headteacher to account for the performance of the school and ensure that parents and carers are involved, consulted and informed as appropriate with information made available to the community as required.

What does governance look like in practice?

Once a governor has been elected, he or she has the opportunity to have induction training through the Local Authority and or the school. New governors may well find that some visits during the school day will help to put everything in context. Governing Bodies are required to meet formally a minimum of three times a year. Dates for meetings are set annually and usually last two to three hours. The Governing body at Woodeaton Manor meets far more regularly than this. In addition to Governing Body meetings, all governors are members of smaller working groups with a particular focus. We have three such groups:

  • Finance, including ICT
  • Teaching, Learning and Progress, including Safeguarding
  • Premises, including Health and Safety

These groups meet at least three times a year and report to the Governing Body.

In addition to meetings, all governors have a specific responsibility for a subject areas and a range of policies.

Training and Support

Governors do not need specific skills. Local Authorities are required to ensure that training for governors is available. Woodeaton Manor purchases the training package provided by Oxfordshire Local Authority. Some training is available online, some is timetable in the evenings and other sessions are held on Saturdays. Some training sessions are general whilst others are very specific, e.g. Headteacher Appraisal. Our Governing Body is a member of the National Governors’ Association.

Our Governors:

Chair of Interim Governing Board:Mark Winch

 

The Interim Governing Board’s current members are:

Mark Winch (Chair)

Mark has been a school governor for over 10 years and has held the Chair role in the Primary, Secondary and Special school sectors. He is currently the Chair of Governors at two primary schools, a special school and Oxfordshire Hospitals School, all within Oxfordshire. Two of these schools are rated outstanding by Ofsted and he has been involved with one primary school for over 10 years moving the school from inadequate to outstanding within that time. His background is in the NHS where he has held several board level roles with responsibility for governance, performance, organisational change and strategic implementation. He is passionate about building the links between schools and the wider community and ensuring that schools offer the best education to all its children.

 

Lynn Wong

Lynn is Chair of the Governing Body of the Wheatley Nursery School and John Watson School Federation, respectively a maintained nursery school and a community special school in Oxfordshire. She is an experienced corporate and strategic adviser, having started her career as a solicitor at an international law firm before moving into financial services and then co-founding a medical technology company. Presently, Lynn is general counsel of an organ transplant technology company and, among other things, an adviser to two financial institutions. She has held senior roles ranging from group general counsel to chief operating officer, managing partner and board director, both executive and non-executive. She has extensive experience in advising on the development of good corporate governance practices and standards of accountability. Lynn firmly believes in education being the great equaliser, where every child, no matter what their background, should be given the best opportunity to be able to learn, grow and succeed.

 

Allyson MilwardAllyson is a qualified company secretary and has worked extensively in local government mainly in the police and education sectors. She has worked with all types of education settings. Roles in asset management planning, pupil place planning, capital infrastructure and the academies programme have required excellent relationships with all stakeholders including school leaders, the Department for Education, academy sponsors and local politicians. She has led the introduction of many new ways of working to deliver national and local priorities in schools and private, voluntary and independent settings.
Allyson retired as a third-tier local government officer in May 2022 and has been a trustee of The Gallery Trust since September 2022. The Gallery Trust specialises in SEND in its own schools and outreach services to mainstream schools. As a trustee she sits on the Schools and Education and Audit and Risk committees and contributes to setting a trust vision/strategic aims and ensuring the trust works with all education stakeholders in Oxfordshire to achieve it.
Elaine Ricks-Neal

Elaine started her career in education, which spans over 40 years, as an English teacher in Oxford, progressing to secondary school leadership, and then to Local Authority School Improvement positions and Ofsted inspection work. Elaine has held a range of senior educational positions including Principal Adviser for School Improvement and Governance for West Berkshire, Senior Regional Adviser for the National Strategies, and County English & Secondary School Adviser for Buckinghamshire.

Elaine is also the joint author of the National Association for Able Children Challenge Award which has been awarded to 450 schools across England, Wales and internationally. Elaine now works on a part-time basis as Director of the Berkshire Leadership Development Partnership, formerly the Berkshire Teaching Alliance where she was also Director, and as an independent School Improvement Adviser working closely with headteachers and governors. Elaine is also a Trustee with the Propeller Academy Trust, as well as a governor in an Oxfordshire primary school, and is driven by a passion to ensure that every young person, irrespective of their background, achieves the best education possible.

2023-24 Interim Governing Body Meeting Agenda and Approved Minutes

Former Governing Body Meeting Minutes

Please note: These minutes document the proceedings of Full Governing Body meetings conducted by the former Governing Body.

Governor Declarations of Interest:

Are you interested in becoming a Governor of Woodeaton Manor School?

Becoming a Governor of a school such as Woodeaton Manor School can be a very rewarding experience and we welcome the opportunity to meet with you and talk through the role. If you would like to find out more information then please contact the school. 
 
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