Constitution of governing boards
The constitution of maintained school’s governing boards is determined by the School Governance (Constitution)(England) Regulations 2012.
Under the 2012 regulations, the minimum size for a governing board must be 7 and must include the following number of governors:-
- Parent – at least 2 elected Parent governors.
- Headteacher – has the right to be a governor. If he/she waives that right, the position remains open and cannot be filled by anyone else.
- Staff –only 1 elected Staff governor.
- Authority – only 1 Authority governor.
- Co-opted – Community governors will once again be known as Co-opted governors. The governing body agrees on the number. Staff may be co-opted onto the governing body but must not exceed more than 1/3 of the total membership and this number includes the Headteacher.
- Foundation – in foundation and voluntary schools the proportion of foundation/partnership governors is protected.
- All appointed governors (Authority, Foundation appointed Parent, Partnership governors) must be appointed on the basis that they have (in the opinion of the person making the appointment) ”the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school”;
- That the governing body be responsible for resolving any issue in relation to surplus governors (at the point of reconstitution). NB this would not apply to Foundation Governors.
The Statutory Guidance relating to the 2012 Regulations refers to governing boards conducting a skills audit to identify skills, knowledge and expertise of current members and any additional specific skills or experience that they require. As Co-opted governors are directly appointed by the governing board it is implied in the guidance that any skills gap identified through the skills audit should be the key criteria when considering candidates for such appointments.
The guidance acknowledges that the specific skills that governing boards need to meet their particular challenges will vary but it does highlight that :-
“all governors need a strong commitment to the role, the inquisitiveness to question and analyse and the willingness to learn. They need good inter-personal skills, a basic level of literacy in English (unless a governing body is prepared to make special arrangements) and sufficient numeracy skills to understand basic data.”
The guidance further states that “effective governing boards seek to secure or develop within their membership as a whole expertise and experience in analysing performance data, in budgeting and driving financial efficiency and in performance management and employment issues, including grievances”
Copies of a model procedure to manage surplus governors and a skills audit can be found under “general recruitment materials”
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