School Governance

July 17th, 2013

There are two recent developments on this front.

First, the School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013 have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 1 September 2013. They apply to maintained schools in England (only). These new Regulations will replace the Education (School Government) (Terms of Reference) (England) Regulations 2000, the Education (Governors’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 and the School Governance (Procedures) (England) Regulations 2003. The aim was to simplify the previous sets of regulations, but no doubt it will take some time for everyone to spot all of the differences and work out any thorny interpretation issues.

Secondly, looking to potential future proposals, the House of Commons Education Committee has published a report on the Role of School Governing Bodies. Its core recommendations are:

  • As  professional bodies, school governors need professional support. The role of Clerk to a school governing body should be classed as a professional post. Government must ensure that people appointed to this role are given the detailed information and data they require to perform their important function. The recently published Governors’ Handbook should be reviewed, so that detailed information supplied in the predecessor guide for professional clerks (but currently omitted) can be reinstated.
  • Ofsted’s increased focus on school governance is a welcome development. The clear standards now set within the inspection framework will help governing bodies to reflect on their own practice and identify areas for improvement. Where governance is poor or failing then the Government and Ofsted must act swiftly and decisively. Current interventions should be reinforced, including the imposition of time limits for implementation of an Interim Executive Board in a failing school. Greater powers for removing poor governors – including chairs – from office are also required.
  • Payment for governors is not necessary, but there may be a case to consider remuneration in some cases – for example when governors deploy their skills or experience to disseminate best practice to improve governance in other schools.

The three volumes include a huge amount of evidence, but if you’re in a hurry then you could turn to the summary (page 3), conclusion (page 43) and recommendations (page 44).

Update: see Stone King LLP’s useful education bulletin for more detail: Changes to Maintained School Governance Procedures

Rachel Kamm, 11KBW

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