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Essential facts about the role of Governors

The College and Corporation

Cornwall College is an incorporated body with a Corporation Board which comprises twenty Governors including the Principal and Chief Executive.  The Board of Governors is responsible for determining the mission and strategic direction of the College as well as ensuring the effective and efficient use of resources and solvency of the College and safeguarding its assets. Accordingly the Board, in discussion with the senior leadership team, determines policy and oversees the management of the organisation.

Responsibilities of Governors

Governors have six main responsibilities as set out in the Instrument and Articles of Government:

  • determination of the character and strategic direction of the College
  • approving the quality strategy of the College
  • efficient and effective use of resources, safeguarding the college assets and the solvency of the College
  • approving the annual estimates of income and expenditure
  • terms and conditions of service of the CEO, senior postholders and Director of Governance
  • setting a framework for the employment of all other staff.

Characteristics and qualities needed

  • A strong sense of demonstrable commitment to the community the College seeks to serve.
  • An interest in wider educational matters.
  • Integrity consistent with public service and accountability.
  • Broad experience of life to aid balanced judgement and a common sense approach.
  • A specific skill, professional qualification and/or experience to contribute to the mix and range of members’ abilities.
  • An ability to assess complex issues including those involving finance.
  • Active links with community groups and/or industry.
  • Sufficient time to give to meetings and events – estimated at one day/two days per month although this will fluctuate depending upon the level of engagement wanted.

Commitment required of Governors

Time is needed both to attend meetings and for preparation and reading the papers which are sent out approximately one week before meetings.  Governors are asked to attend approximately ten meetings a year (including six Board meetings and three meetings of a committee), three campus visits a year to meet students and staff, plus Governor development events and occasional informal events, which are usually held at the College’s corporate headquarters in St Austell. Meetings are generally held in the late afternoon.

Recruitment and appointment of Governors

The Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life emphasised the importance of open and transparent recruitment of those in public office.  The College are seeking to widen the range of skills and backgrounds of Governors on the Board.  Applications are considered by the Search and Governance Committee which makes recommendations to the Corporation Board. 

Induction and development

An induction programme is provided and adapted to suit the needs of each Governor.  Completion of core training modules and visiting the different campuses is a requirement in the first year.  Attendance at one or more training and development events is expected during the year.


Travel and subsistence expenses are met but no allowances are payable to Governors.

Self assessment

Any person who is interested in appointment as a Governor should consider the points below.

  • Do I have most of the qualities required?
    • Commitment
    • Integrity
    • Interest in education
    • Balanced judgement
    • Specific skill, professional qualification and/or experience
    • Ability to assess complex issues
  • Do I have links with the local community or business that I can use for mutual benefit?
  • Can I be available for meetings during the daytime and early evening?
  • Can I commit to attending a number of meetings during the year; the majority at the St Austell campus but with some travel to other campuses?
  • Can I put in time before meetings to read the papers?