Governors’ Handbook

AUTUMN Term Governing Body Meetings

  • Monday 19th October 2020 Staffing and Finance – 2pm
  • Tuesday 20th October 2020 Premises Committee – 8am
  • Thursday 22nd October 2020 Curriculum Committee – 8am
  •  Main Governing Body Meeting – Wednesday 11th November 2020 – 6pm

SPRING Term Governing Body Meetings

  • Tuesday 23rd February 2021 Premises Committee – 8am
  • Thursday 25th February 2021 Curriculum Committee – 8am
  • Monday 8th March 2021 Staffing and Finance – 2pm
  • Main Governing Body and Budget Ratification Meeting  – Wednesday 24th March 2021 – 6pm

SUMMER Term Governing Body Meetings

  • Monday 21st June 2021 Staffing and Finance – 2pm
  • Tuesday 22nd June 2021 Premises Committee – 8am
  • Thursday 24th June 2021 – Curriculum Committee – 8am
  • Main Governing Body Meeting – Wednesday 7th July 2021 – 6pm

Caritas Christi Urget Nos

“The love of Christ urges us on to care for each other and strive for excellence in everything that we do.”

Key elements in achieving this are:

  • Enabling each child to learn and develop skills and knowledge in: Religious knowledge, the early learning goals of the foundation stage curriculum, language, mathematics, science, information and communication technology, geography, art, design technology, history, physical exercise, music, modern foreign languages, personal, social, citizenship and health education, social interaction and other world religions, centered on the Catholic faith.
  • Seeking to be a School where worship, prayer and spirituality are central.
  • Employing high quality teachers committed to excellence and in full sympathy with the Catholic faith.
  • Ensuring high quality support/administrative staff committed to excellence.
  • Ensuring high quality support/administrative staff committed to excellence.
  • Developing excellence in parental involvement.
  • Developing excellence in local community involvement.
  • Maintaining and developing buildings and resources to the highest possible standard.

Sex Education

It is not the general policy of the school to give specific lessons solely on this subject, except in Year 6.  The materials used and a copy of our Sex Education Policy may be viewed by parents on request. In general we deal with the subject naturally as it arises when related topics are being taught as well as using the “All that I Am” PSHCE programme recommended by the Westminster Diocese. At all times the Children’s questions are answered by teachers and other staff in a sensitive way, and with regard to the child’s age and maturity.

School starts at 8.55am and finishes at 3.15pm for Reception and Key Stage 1 and 3.20pm for Key Stage 2. There is a 20 minute morning break for all. Reception, Years 1 and 2 have their lunch break at 12 to 1pm. For Years 3 to 6 the lunch break is 12.30-1.30pm.   In the afternoon, Reception, Years 1 and 2 have a 15 minute break at 2.30pm.

Arriving, Leaving and Punctuality

The School playground gate opens at 8.30am and is closed at 3.35pm. Outside of these times, the entrance gates to the School playground are closed – so children should not routinely arrive at School before 8.30am. Children who do so MUST be accompanied by their parent or a responsible adult as the School is unable to take responsibility for these children before 8.45am.

School Educational Visits – Trips/Outings

Each year the School organises a wide range of journeys and trips that provide opportunities for the children to learn in different ways. Details of all trips are given to parents well in advance of the proposed departure date. The Governors charging policy states that Educational Visits should be paid for by a donation made by each parent to cover the cost. Parents are also encouraged to support the school with their time when volunteers are requested to assist with school trips.

A residential educational visit is held annually for Year 6. During this time, children have the opportunity to experience living

Download our current Term Dates below:

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Here are the details of our School Uniform:

Boy’s Uniform

  • Long Grey Trousers for Winter
  • Grey Shorts for Summer
  • White Shirts for Winter
  • Grey Socks
  • Black Shoes (Infants – No Laces)

Girl’s Uniform

  • Navy Pinafore Dress or Navy Skirt
  • Summer Yellow and White Checked Dress
  • White Shirts for Winter
  • White Socks or Navy Tights
  • Black Shoes (Infants – No Trainers)

PE Kit

  • Navy Shorts/Navy Joggers
  • Black Slip-On Plimsolls

Good financial management is critical to a school’s success and Governors have a statutory responsibility for the oversight of financial management. This is set out in S.21 of the Education Act 2002.

A considerable amount of information about the school’s finances is available within the school, on the local Barnet website and via links to national websites. There are also a variety of sources of information for governors either wanting to know more about school finances generally or answer specific questions. This section gives a brief introduction and gives links to other information.

The Financial Framework
All maintained schools will, by the end of 2010, be required to have meet the national Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS).

The background to this and its implementation in Barnet can be found on the Barnet website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework)

Within Barnet all schools are obliged to operate within the requirements of the Scheme for Financing Schools, which sets out the financial relationship between the authority and the maintained schools which it funds, it is binding on both the authority and on schools. It can be viewed on the website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework)

Detailed operational requirements and advice to schools on finance and accounting matters is contained in the Barnet Financial Guide for Schools, although governors would not normally get involved in operational details it may be used to clarify points of interest or concern. It can be viewed on the website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework)

School Financial Policy & Procedures
The Governing Body has responsibility for overall financial management of the school and must ensure the requirements of the Scheme and associated guidance from the Chief Finance Officer are met. In order to meet these requirements the school has its own Financial Management Policy and Procedures document for internal use which is approved by the Governing Body. The Governing Body monitors its Policy and Procedures is implemented.

The Governing Body has considered the extent to which it wishes to delegate its financial powers to Committees, individual governors, the Head teacher or other staff, and the details of the Committees terms of reference and staff’s financial responsibilities are set out in the Financial Management Policy and Procedures document, a copy of which is available from the Chair of Governors or Head Teacher

School Budget
Schools are funded by the government (DCSF) via local authorities which receive the Dedicated Schools Grant. This grant funds schools and other central education items such as early years, Pupil Referral Units and independent special school places. The Individual School Budgets (or Budget Shares) are allocated to schools on the basis of a local formula within a national framework. The Budget Share is the largest source of state funding but is supplemented by various Standards Fund grants which include the School Standards Grant and the School Development Grant. Details of the Budget Share and grants can be found on the Barnet website (See Barnet School Funding Website via Financial Framework) according to the relevant financial year, e.g. 2014/15 Financial Year.

Using the Budget Share and grants, supplemented school based income, e.g. catering, lettings etc the school is required to set a balanced budget approved by the governing body before the beginning of the financial year and submitted to the local authority by 1st May each year.
The school’s budget is monitored by the Finance Committee on a termly basis and a copy of the budget can be obtained from the Headteacher/school bursar.

Whistle blowing
The school has adopted the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy and Code of Practice to be followed by persons working at a school or school governors, who wish to complain about financial management or financial propriety at the school. Complaints can be made to the Headteacher, or Chair of Governors at the school; or, to the Council’s Whistleblowing Officer – Head of the Corporate Anti Fraud Team (CAFT), or, the Council’s Monitoring Officer – the Borough Solicitor.

The Council’s Whistleblowing contact details are:

Telephone 020 8359 6123.
Address: Corporate Anti-Fraud Team, Building 4, North London Business Park, London N11 1NP

Details of the policy and code of practice of how such complaints will be dealt with are included in the Financial Guide for Schools.

Pecuniary Interests
The Governing Body has established a register, which lists for each member of the Governing Body, the head teacher and any member of staff who is authorised to enter into a contract on behalf of the school, any material business interests they or any member of their immediate family have. The register is be kept up to date with notification of changes and through an annual review of entries.

At each governors meeting there is the opportunity for those present to declare an interest in any item on the agenda.

The Governing Body will convene once a term.

  • To take responsibility for overall financial management of the school and satisfy the LA that the school’s financial management and organisation are such as to enable it to fulfil its financial obligations;
  • To ensure that any grant from the LA is only used for the purpose prescribed (see LA financial regulations);
  • To provide such information as the Secretary of State may require;
  • To appoint external auditors (if considered appropriate);
  • To provide the LA with timely monthly and annual financial returns in the required format (Consistent Financial Reporting);
  • To manage the school budget:
    • Consider the annual budget plan
    • Approve the budget
    • Consider and approve any revisions to the budget
    • Agree levels of delegation for financial responsibility
  • To delegate powers, including to spend, to the Head teacher as follows:
    • internal scheme of delegation to governors’ committees
    • to delegate powers for finance to the Finance Committee
    • the Headteacher may delegate the responsibility of budgets to SLT.
    • limits to powers – spending, virements as per the Financial Management Policy
    • clarity of functions and responsibilities (Job Descriptions)
  • To be consulted by the Local Authority:
    • on significant changes to LA’s Fair Funding/Scheme of Delegation
  • To ensure accounts are kept:
    • accurate
    • timely
    • in accordance with local and national requirements
  • To determine staff disposition and policy
    • in accordance with Teachers Pay and Conditions agreement
    • non teachers requirements e.g. TAs, site supervisors etc
  • To make judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent;
  • To act as a ‘critical friend’ to the Headteacher by providing advice, challenge and support;
  • To  evaluate the effectiveness of spending decisions;
  • To ensure that financial duties of staff are clearly described to avoid potential conflicts;
  • To establish and maintain a register of Business Interests of Governors and Staff who influence financial decisions;
  • To ensure in conjunction with the Headteacher and via the borough’s payroll provision, that:
    • salary payments are only made to school employees
    • salary payments are made in accordance with appropriate conditions of employment
    • salary payments are only made for services provided to the school
    • payroll changes are accurately recorded and promptly processed
  • To produce a Controls Assurance Statement in accordance with the Financial Management Standard.
  • To approve a list of authorised signatories for the following list of authorisation:
    • Bank transfers and cheques
    • Certification of invoices and petty cash payments
    • Orders for supplies, works and services
    • Salaries and wages, including honoraria, timesheets, overtime, car mileage and travel claims
    • Budget virements
  • To ensure the requirements of the scheme and associated guidance are met;
  • Responsible for ensuring the Financial Management and other policies are reviewed annually;
  • To ratify Policies drawn up by the relevant committee;
  • To draw up a Best Value Statement in line with the Scheme for  Financing Schools;
  • To authorise virements in excess of £5,000 for individual budget headings;
  • To approve expenditure on major capital projects / leasing and to seek LA approval before proceeding;
  • To authorise write-offs and disposal of stock;
  • To ensure appropriate insurance cover for the school is obtained;
  • To respond promptly to recommendations made by auditors or inspectors;
  • To ensure that the relevant staff are aware and implement the Construction Industry Taxation Scheme;
  • To approve and authorise Leasing Agreements;
  • To follow deficit budget procedures as set out in the ‘Scheme For Financing Schools’;
  • To set and review performance targets for the Headteacher;
  • To review annually the Governors Terms of Reference;
  • All maintain minutes of the meetings

The main work of the Governing Body is delegated to specific sub-committees which carry out the responsibilities of the Governors within specialised areas. The sub-committees are directed by the whole Governing Body, delegated authority to make decisions where appropriate and report back.

At St Vincent’s the sub-committees and their members are as follows:

Finance and Staffing

Sr Kathleen Kennedy

Cllr John Hart

Christophe Galichet

Anna Mazreh

Trevor Fitzgerald (Chair)


Philippa Weekes (Chair)

Emma Scelsi

Liz Wolfenden

James Sutherland


Liam Tierney (Chair)

Maria Joyce

Trevor Fitzgerald

Shirley Coffey

Governing Bodies Do:

  • Set the overall budget for the school.
  • Decide on the number of staff.
  • Decide on the level of pay for teachers.
  • Help to decide the priorities for the school when the school improvement plan is being developed ^. Ensure the National Curriculum is taught to all pupils.
  • Set targets for pupil achievement.
  • Publish national test and exam results.
  • Compare the performance of their school to similar schools.
  • Receive information about the quality of teaching in the school.
  • Have a published strategy for dealing with parental complaints and concerns.
  • Ensure health and safety issues are addressed.
  • Set the times of school sessions.
  • Consult the Head Teacher when making decisions.
  • Ask challenging questions.
  • Help develop school policies and procedures.
  • Consider the repair and maintenance of school buildings.
  • Consider the use of school premises outside school hours.
  • Appoint committees of governors to look at specific issues such as finance, staffing, curriculum and premises.

Governing Bodies Don’t:

  • Inspect the school.
  • Report on the quality of teaching after visiting the school.
  • Authorise all expenditure.
  • Share concerns about staff capability Decide on how pupils are taught different subjects Have the right to exclude a pupil.
  • Write the school’s policies on their own.
  • Rubberstamp recommendations from the Head Teacher.
  • Automatically approve all apologies for absence for meetings sent by governors.
  • Need to be aware of the performance objectives which had been set for individual.

The Head Teacher is responsible for:

  • The internal organisation, management and control of the school.
  • Formulating aims, objectives and policies for the governing body to consider adopting.
  • Advising on and implementing the governing strategic framework.
  • Giving governors the information they needed to help the school raise its standards.
  • Reporting on progress at least once every school year.

Governing Bodies TIPs:

  • Don’t bring up issues about your own children at governing body level.
  • Consider the best interests of the school.
  • Remember you are equal to all governors.
  • Remember decision making is corporate, bring your view, but abide by the corporate decision.
  • You have no power, responsibilities or liability as an individual.
  • Get to know your school, speak to the Head Teacher, the Chair and the clerk.
  • Ask for a mentor governor as a first point of contact.
  • Your volunteer status means getting summaries – don’t allow the governance to become a full time job!
  • Remember the governing body steers, the Head Teacher manages the rowing and the vessel.
  • If you are a member of a committee, be familiar with its terms of reference.
  • Find out about confidentiality.
  • Don’t be part of decision making where a personal interest or occupation allows you to become biased – declare the interest and withdraw.
  • If you don’t feel you have enough information to make a decision then say so remember you can abstain.
  • Prepare well for all meetings.
  • Attend training where possible, ask about options including distance learning or online training from the Local Authority.