Chair Terms of Reference

Being a chair of governors is a key role in the leadership and management of schools.

An effective chair of governors:

  •  works with the headteacher to promote and maintain high standards of
    educational achievement
  •  ensures that the governing body sets a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction
    for the school
  •  with the governing body holds the headteacher to account for the educational
    performance of the school and its pupils, and for the performance management
    of staff
  •  ensures oversight of the financial performance of the school and effective use
    of the schools resources

The Chair must ensure that all governors understand the role and vision of the Governing body of West Hill Primary School, including its membership of the Smile Learning trust, and how that vision is being implemented throught he aims and development plans.


The key roles of the chair are outlined below:

  • Leading effective governance: giving the governing body a clear lead and
    direction, ensuring that the governors work as an effective team and understand
    their accountability and the part they play in the strategic leadership of the school
    and in driving school improvement
  • Building the team: attracting governors with the necessary skills and ensuring that tasks are delegated across the governing body so that all members contribute, and feel that their individual skills, knowledge and experience are well used and that the overall workload is shared.
  • Relationship with the headteacher: Being a critical friend by offering support, challenge and encouragement, holding the headteacher to account and ensuring the headteacher’s performance management is rigorous and robust; a good comparison is with the role of the chair of a board of trustees who works with the chief executive of an organisation but does not run day-to-day operations.
  • Improving your school: ensuring school improvement is the focus of all policy and strategy and that governor scrutiny, monitoring and challenge reflect school improvement priorities.


The chair plays a crucial role in setting the culture of the governing body and is first among
equals, but has no individual power. The governing body is a corporate entity and its power
and authority rest with the governing body as a whole. On occasions, the chair may need
to take chair’s action in an emergency, but any such action must be reported to the whole
governing body as soon as possible.
Managing your time effectively is important to ensure you have the capacity to do what the
chair alone, needs to do. Take time, with the headteacher and governors, to set priorities and focus your work on these.