Annual cycle of work for governing bodies

It is a good idea for all governing bodies to have an annual cycle of work identifying the key tasks which must be completed each term. The annual cycle of work should be agreed at the first governing body meeting in the autumn term.

In setting an annual cycle of work governors should bear in mind:

  • governing body agendas will contain many items which need to be addressed each term in addition to those in the annual cycle of work, so chairs of governors need to plan the governing body's time accordingly
  • governors are encouraged to delegate to committees so that essential tasks can be managed efficiently
  • all the governing body's policies need to be reviewed on a regular cycle and these should be noted in the annual cycle of work.

Governing body development plan

Governing bodies should always be mindful of their own development, and it is recommended that they draw up a governing body development plan, which should be linked to the school’s own development plan.


All committees of the governing body must have formal terms of reference. It is up to individual schools how many committees they have, although there are statutory requirements to have committees dealing with

  • pay
  • pupil exclusions (and appeals)
  • staff discipline (and appeals).


The governing body has overall responsibility for finance in schools and for setting the budget, but governors are not expected to be financial experts and it is not their responsibility to agree every individual item of expenditure.

The governing body decides how the money the school receives will be spent, working with the head teacher and the school's senior staff. School staff will draw up the draft budget for review by the governors’ Finance Committee and for approval by the governing body.

Governors normally have a finance committee which oversees the school's finances and budget. The governing body is not a financial auditor. Professional auditing of the finances of Tower Hamlets schools is undertaken by the internal audit team of Tower Hamlets council, and their audit reports are given to the school and the governing body.

Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS)

On July 18 2011 the Department of Education (DfE) launched the SFVS which replaced the Financial Management Standard in Schools (FMSiS).

Governing bodies have formal responsibility for the financial management of their schools, and so the standard is primarily aimed at governors.

Maintained schools are required to conduct an assessment against SFVS once a year. SFVS will not be externally assessed, but schools must undertake self-assessments which should be signed by the chair of governors and must be sent to the local authority. It is in the scope of local authorities' powers to issue a notice of concern or in extremis to withdraw financial delegation from schools that fail to complete the SFVS as required.

Visit the SFVS website for more information.

Other useful websites