It does not take a medical doctor, a biblical scholar or a soccer manager to tell us that any institution or body must work together if that body is to be effective. Each person, unit, department, has a key but different role to play in the success of the body. “The body is not made up of one part but of many”; one part cannot say it does not need another. It follows therefore that, for a school to be effective in its mission, all parts of the school need to be working together for the common good, each with their own purpose, skills and calling. In ATS schools, the roles of the Board, the Parents’ committee, the Management and the staff in a school are all vital. What then, in brief, are these roles and responsibilities? Allow me, please, to explain.

The task of a Board of Governors is “to ensure that the school runs successfully and smoothly in accordance with the aims of the foundation, as expressed in the school’s scheme of government or constitution.” The specific responsibilities of a Board are to “articulate and safeguard the mission of the school; to direct strategy and structure; to set general policies and broad institutional matters; to ensure good performance and compliance; to employ and appraise the Head.”

As set out in the Education Act, the Board of Governors, as the Responsible Authority, is required to call the Parents Assembly (that being anyone who is a parent of a child at the school) to form a Parent Committee. This exists to facilitate and promote communication between the parent body and the school management; to undertake specific projects to improve school facilities; to raise money and to use, invest or dispose of such monies in consultation with the school in such a manner that is in the best interests of the school; to assist in all manner of school functions. In short, this group is very much a support group for the school, seeking to excite, educate and involve the parents in ways to help improve the school. This group is answerable to the Board.

In simple terms, the Board is concerned for the development of the school, i.e. major projects, the long-term, “must haves”, (new buildings), while the SDC is concerned for the improvement, i.e. smaller projects, the short-term/present, “good to have” (upgrading existing facilities). It is expected that neither Board members nor members of the SDC of an ATS school receive remuneration or any benefits (e.g. school fee reductions) for their services to the school.

The day-to-day responsibility of the running of the school is delegated to the Head and the Management team by the Board of Governors. The Head will work closely with the Board and the Parent Committee in order to give direction with regard to the needs and wants of the school.

It is absolutely crucial that the Board, the SDC and the Head work closely together, with positive relationships undergirding all that goes on. The bottom line is that a school needs all parties to play their part, to direct their efforts towards the same goal. No school can afford to let in an own goal.

Meanwhile, the ATS is here to support each member school in whatever way they may wish. To that end, the latest article for parents, to help you fulfil your role as a parent, “Parental Guidance is not advised”, is now on the ATS website ( ).

Strength to you all as you play your role and support those who serve in our school bodies.