Guidance for appointments

Historical background

The Christian churches were the first to provide mass education in England and Wales.
The National Society was founded in 1811 to provide schools for poor children. The original name was ‘The National Society for the Promotion of the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church’. The founders were deeply concerned about the fate of the population, including children, working in the factories, mills and mines of the newly industrialised Britain. They set up the Society to raise money to build schools and pay teachers.
These schools were to teach basic skills and also to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of the children, by teaching them the ‘National Religion’ – Christianity as represented in the Church of England and Wales.
Their aim was to found a church school in every parish and by 1851 (still 20 years before the state took any responsibility for education) there were 12,000 schools across England and Wales.
The full name of the National Society is the National Society for Promoting Religious Education The National Society promotes and resources 4,700 Church of England and 172 Church in Wales schools, through:
• Negotiating with Government and other national agencies to maintain and develop the contribution of church schools to public education in England and Wales
• Supporting and advising diocesan education teams on legal and technical, curriculum and ethos issues
• Working closely with the Church of England Board of Education to contribute a Christian perspective to educational debate

The state continued to increase funding to the schools run by private organisations, now known as voluntary schools. In return these schools were increasingly influenced by the state, and were subject to jointly administered inspections. Under the Education Act 1944, most of the direct grant schools became direct grant grammar schools. The Act also imposed higher standards on school facilities, and offered the remaining voluntary schools a choice in funding the costs this would incur:
• Voluntary controlled schools would have all their costs met by the state, but would be controlled by the Local Education Authority.
• Voluntary aided schools would be only partly funded by the state, with the foundation responsible for 50% of capital works but having greater influence over the school

The Catholic Church chose to retain control of its schools, while more than half of Church of England schools became voluntary controlled.

Church School Governors

Church school governors are a highly committed group who come from many different backgrounds and reflect the wide variety of interest groups involved in our schools. There are six categories of governor:
• Foundation Governors
• Parent Governors
• Co-opted Governors
• Staff Governors
• Local Authority Governors
• Partnership Governors

Associate members are appointed by the governing body as a member of any committee established by them but who is not a governor.
In the Diocese of Exeter Foundation Governors are:
• appointed by the Diocesan Board of Education with a nomination from the school incumbent
• appointed by the PCC
• appointed by trustees
• the ex-officio governor, normally the incumbent, unless a substitute has been nominated and agreed by the Archdeacon

Foundation Governors

Foundation governors exercise the same general responsibilities as other governors. However, in addition, foundation governors are the ‘formal Christian presence’ on the Governing Body; they are upholding the religious Trust Deed of the school. The main duties of governors are to:
• Have an interest and concern for education
• To get to know the school including visiting the school
• Attend meetings of the full governing body and committees of the governing body
• Be supportive of the school, headteacher and all the staff
• To have a strategic overview of the school and monitor pupil’s achievement, teaching and learning, staffing and finances
• Appointment of staff
• Support the school and its staff in seeking to provide academic excellence – throughout the curriculum – in a Christian context
Foundation governors have a particular responsibility for the preservation and development of the Anglican character of the school.

The Three Main Elements of School Governance

• Strategic Overview
• Critical Friend – support and challenge
• Accountability
The Governing Body is a corporate body that has responsibility for the governance of the school. All members of the governing body have a duty to undertake these three core elements of governance.
Foundation governors have a particular responsibility for the preservation and development of the Anglican character of the school.


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