Effective Governing Body Structures to Enhance School Leadership – Cyfarthfa High School

Area(s) of focus: Improve school governance; Improve the quality/ consistency of leadership.

School(s) or partnership name: Cyfarthfa High School

Name of lead person: Carolyn Meade

Role of lead person:  Headteacher

Lead person e-mail address: meadec@cyfarthfahigh.merthyr.sch.uk 

Local Authority(ies): Merthyr Tydfil

Phase(s): Secondary

  Context and background of case study

For many years the governing body at Cyfarthfa High has played an active part in the life of the school and has been fundamental to its improvement journey.  All governors have links with subject departments and are fully involved in performance reviews, learning and teaching and staff development.  Our annual calendar of quality assurance plans in governor involvement at every opportunity.  Many governors add value to the work of the school because of their particular skill set and connections within the community.


Nature of effective practice

Committee Structure 

The committee structure fulfills all the usual statutory obligations but is highly influential in supporting the school's leadership team.  During the period of post-16 reorganisation and the move to a tertiary system, governors have been involved in producing a medium and long-term financial plan working closely with the leadership team to realign our staffing and resources to meet the needs of a 11 – 16 school.  With ever shrinking school budgets governors have proved intuitive in matching school priorities to available funding and supporting decision making to maximise performance during a period of significant change.  Our standards committee has undertaken an extensive training programme to increase knowledge and understanding of the new performance measures, providing appropriate levels of challenge and support within a changing qualifications landscape.  Our curriculum committee is well versed in the strategic planning required to implement 'Successful Futures' and is supportive of the collaborative work we are involved in as a Central South Consortium Hub school.  Their approach is outward looking with the aspiration to see Cyfarthfa High as a key player in school to school support networks.



In our Estyn report the role of the governing body was deemed a success

“Governors are supportive and know the school exceptionally well. They work closely with the Headteacher, senior leaders and key staff, with an appropriate balance between their challenge and support role. The useful structure of the governing body sub-committees and full committee meetings enables governors to make a valuable contribution to the direction of the work of the school." (Estyn Inspection Report, March 2016)

A range of useful resources relevant to the work of school governors is available on Cronfa.