Procedures for Appointing or Electing Governors
Constitution of Governing Bodies
The constitution of a governing body is laid down in the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003 and can comprise the following categories: Local Education Authority Parent Foundation Staff (headteacher, teaching, non-teaching) Community Sponsor Partnership Associate Member
Each school now has its own ‘Instrument of Government’ giving details of the constitution of its governing body. The governing body and the local education authority can review the Instrument at any time and are expected to ensure that the composition is appropriate to meet the needs of the school from time to time.
Procedures for Appointing or Electing Governors
The maximum term of office for governors is four years. A shorter term of office, but not less than one year, can be set for different categories of governor. The Instrument of Government will indicate the terms of office for each category of governor. Following notification of any appointment made, staff in the District Support Teams will send a letter of confirmation to that person. All governors being appointed for the first time will also receive a comprehensive Induction Pack containing information and guidance to help acquaint themselves with the role they have agreed to undertake. The following is a guide to how governors may be appointed or elected to the different categories of governorship: 1. Local Education Authority LEA’s are required to publish the process and criteria by which candidates for appointment as LEA governors will be identified. Governors are chosen on the basis of the contribution that they can make to a school in terms of their skills and experiences. Every effort is made to ensure that appointments are made promptly when vacancies arise. The process for appointing LEA governors is as follows: each of the eight school districts in the county has a county councillor or other member of the Children and Lifelong Learning (Scrutiny) Committee acting as a governor co-ordinator responsible for ensuring that appointments are made promptly;
a list of vacancies and LEA governors nearing the end of their term of office is produced for each meeting of the Children and Lifelong Learning (Scrutiny) Committee and is a public document. Following approval of the Committee invitations are then sent to the three main political parties, district and parish councils, headteachers and chairs of governors, seeking nominations to fill these places; nominations are to be submitted through a pro-forma giving details of the individual and of the contribution he or she might bring to the school. Nominations must be submitted no later than five weeks from receipt of the list of vacancies; officers circulate nominations received to all county councillors for the appropriate district and asking for comments. The nominations and county councillor comments, if any, are then submitted to the governor co-ordinators for each district who will then make recommendations for appointment to the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People; in making recommendations and subsequent decisions, governor coordinators, county councillors and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People will bear in mind the following criteria:the skills and experience of the nominees; the balance of gender and ethnicity appropriate for the school and the county as a whole; the balance of political affiliations appropriate to the Children and Lifelong Learning (Scrutiny) Committee of the day;
the Corporate Director, Children and Lifelong Learning reports to each Children and Lifelong Learning (Scrutiny) Committee on the appointments made between meetings; Governor Services will notify the headteacher and confirm the appointments.
parent governors are elected by and from the parents of registered pupils at the school; parent governor elections must be conducted in accordance with DCFS regulations: Education (No 2) Act 1986: Further Guidance (Circular No 7/87); School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003;
parents working at the school for more than 500 hours in a year are not eligible to be parent governors;
election procedures are outlined in pages 7-8 of this guide, together with sample letters (models 1-3); if it appears likely that there will be insufficient nominations, headteachers may wish to encourage parents to put themselves forward for election; parents will be elected automatically if the number of nominations received is smaller than or equal to the number of vacancies; if there are insufficient numbers of parents willing to stand for election, the governing body may make an appointment; in the event of the governing body having to make an appointment the parent(s) appointed should have a child at the school, or, if this is not possible, should have a child of school age; a parent who is appointed, as opposed to elected, must not be a county councillor, an employee of the LEA, or a co-opted member of the Children and Lifelong Learning (Scrutiny) Committee; a quorum of one half of the current governors must be present if it is necessary to appoint parent governors; the headteacher should inform Governor Services, as soon as possible, of the details of the elected, or appointed parent governor.
Foundation these appointments (at voluntary aided, voluntary controlled and some foundation schools only) are appointed by the body or bodies named in the Instrument i.e. voluntary controlled and aided schools by the appropriate Church Authority, e.g. Lichfield Diocesan Board of Education and Archdiocese of Birmingham; other controlled and aided schools by the appropriate Endowment Trustee;
foundation governors are appointed to preserve and develop the religious character of the school if it has a religious character, and to ensure compliance with the trust deed; the name of the appointing body or bodies is stated in the instrument together with the number of foundation governors each is to appoint; for voluntary aided schools only, one-fifth of foundation governors must be parents of children registered at the school; some foundation governors, by virtue of the position held, may be ex-officio e.g. principal officiating minister. Where this is the case it will be shown in the Instrument;
ex-officio foundation governors are counted as part of the required foundation governor complement on the governing body; a substitute foundation governor may be appointed if the ex-officio governor is unable or unwilling to act as a governor. The arrangements for this are stated in the Instrument; staff in Governor Services, if aware of a vacancy, will seek nominations from the appropriate Church Authority; In many instances the resignation and appointment of foundation governors are unknown by Governor Services, as details are usually sent directly to the school from the Church Authority. Where this is the case, the headteacher is requested to inform Governor Services as soon as possible of any resignation and subsequent appointment of a new foundation governor.
Staff one staff place must be reserved for the headteacher and cannot be taken by anyone else, even if the headteacher chooses not to be a governor; at least one staff governor must be a teacher, unless no teacher stands for election. If a governing body has three or more staff governor places, at least one staff governor must be a non-teaching member of staff, unless no such person stands for election; all paid staff are entitled to vote by secret ballot for any of the candidates; staff governors are not eligible to serve as LEA or community governors in the school where they are employed; staff employed at a school for more than 500 hours in a year are also not eligible to stand as parent governor at the school where they are employed. They are, however, eligible to vote in parent governor elections; staff governors are elected by and from other members of the school’s staff and arrangements for the election are left to individual schools; staff governors cease to be governors immediately they cease to be employed at or by the school; the headteacher should inform Governor Services, as soon as possible, of the details of the elected staff governor.
Headteacher the headteacher may choose whether or not to be a governor. A headteacher is assumed to be a governor unless s/he has written to the clerk to the governing body confirming that s/he does not wish to be a governor;
a headteacher may change his or her mind about being a governor, provided s/he gives written notice to the clerk to the governing body. It is good practice to do this for a whole school year at the beginning of that year; this is particularly important in voluntary aided schools because the head’s decision will affect the number of foundation governors to be appointed; if a headteacher changes his or her mind about being a governor, the instrument does not have to be amended to take account of the resulting change in the number of governors at the school, since the instrument will automatically provide for that situation; whether a governor or not, the headteacher has the right to attend all meetings of the governing body; an acting headteacher appointed for a temporary period is also a governor, if s/he chooses, during his or her period of appointment.
Teaching Staff all permanent members of the teaching staff (full-time or part-time) are entitled to vote. Supply staff should not; temporary teachers may vote if there is no other teacher holding the substantive post (i.e. a temporary teacher covering a maternity leave may not vote as the teacher on maternity leave is the substantive member of staff and therefore, the one who is entitled to vote). A temporary teacher covering a vacancy pending the appointment of a permanent member of staff may vote; staff who teach or instruct pupils off site (i.e. swimming instructors) and do not work at the school are not eligible to stand or vote; in the event of a teacher governor being appointed to the role of acting headteacher a substitute teacher governor cannot be appointed. The acting headteacher would need to resign as the teacher governor and then elections held as outlined; if teachers leave a school they cease to be a governor, even if they have not served out their term of office.
Non-Teaching Staff all permanent and temporary non-teaching staff employed on a full or parttime basis under a contract of employment or a contract for services are eligible. Caterers, cleaners and grounds maintenance staff working at the school as well as school administrators and other ancillary staff are, therefore, included; the DCFS confirm that there is no definitive ruling on eligibility but staff employed by Direct Service Organisations or other Contractors and working at the same school on a regular basis can stand for election. If the Direct Service Organisations or Contractors, however, rotate staff among schools then they are not eligible;
headteachers may wish to inform the appropriate staff supervisors that an election is to be held and request that they bring this to the attention of their colleagues.
Community these governors are appointed by the governing body; when appointing community governors, governing bodies must ensure sufficient representation of the local community, which includes the business community; governing bodies may wish to invite nominations from their appropriate minor authority i.e. district or parish council; in community special schools one of the community governors can be appointed by one or more voluntary organisations associated with the special needs catered for by the school; community governors must not be people who are employed to work at the school, pupils currently at the school or elected members of the local education authority. Parents of pupils at the school or who have left the school are eligible to stand; for community governors to be appointed there must be a quorum of one-half of the governing body; the headteacher should inform Governor Services, as soon as possible, of the details of the newly appointed community governor.
Sponsor governing bodies of schools which have been designated as specialist schools may establish or maintain links with their sponsors by providing for 1 or 2 sponsor governors in their instrument of government, and inviting nominations for these governor posts from their sponsors; schools which have not been designated as specialist schools but do have a sponsor or sponsors may also choose to include up to two governors nominated by the sponsor or sponsors at the school; a sponsor is a person or corporate body who is giving, or has given, substantial assistance to a school, financially or in kind, although not obliged to give such assistance by law; the definition of sponsor governor allows for external partners, including other schools, who offer support and advice to a school, to be represented on the governing body;
a sponsor governor can be nominated by the Education Action Forum if the school is situated in an Education Action Zone; there are currently no Education Action Zones in Staffordshire but should any be formed in the future governing bodies should consult with the relevant partners on whether they wish to include such a governor.
Partnership partnership governors will exist only at foundation schools which do not have a foundation or trustees. These are former county grant-maintained schools; partnership governors must be members of the community served by the school and the governing body is responsible for seeking nominations and their subsequent appointment; nominations must be sought from parents of pupils at the school and any other members of the community served by the school which the governing body considers appropriate; governing bodies may decide for themselves how to seek nominations, but they must ensure that parents of pupils at the school are informed that they may make nominations; although parents may make nominations, they themselves are not eligible to be appointed as partnership governors. People employed to work at the school, or elected members or employees of the LEA are also ineligible to be partnership governors; governing bodies may not nominate partnership governors unless they do not receive sufficient eligible nominations to fill the number of vacancies. If a governing body rejects a nomination for a partnership governor and subsequently appoints its own nominee it must give reasons for the rejection to the person it has turned down and to the LEA.
Associate Members associate members are not governors; they can attend governing body meetings but are not eligible to vote. If appointed to a committee they are eligible to vote in certain circumstances but not including staffing, finance, admissions and discipline matters; pupils can be appointed to committees as associate members but those under eighteen have no voting rights at all; associate members are not recorded in the Instrument of Government.
Qualifications and Disqualifications
A governor must be aged 18 or over at the time of their election or appointment and cannot hold more than one governorship at the same school. A person is disqualified from being a governor or associate member if they: have a mental disorder and are liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983; have failed to attend a meeting of the governing body for a continuous period of 6 months, without the consent of the governing body; are bankrupt; are subject to a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 or to an order made under section 429 (2) of the Insolvency Act 1986; have been removed from the office of charity trustee or trustee for a charity by the Charity Commissioners or High Court on the grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement, or under section 7 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 from being concerned in the management or control of any body; are included in the list of teachers or workers prohibited or restricted from working with children or young people; are disqualified from working with children; are disqualified from being an independent school proprietor, teacher or employee by the Secretary of State; have been sentenced to 3 months or more in prison (without the option of a fine) in the 5 years before becoming a governor or since becoming a governor; have received a prison sentence of two and a half years or more in the 20 years before becoming a governor; have at any time received a prison sentence of 5 years or more; have been fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on school premises during the 5 years prior to or since appointment or election as a governor; refuse to an application being made to the Criminal Records Bureau for a criminal records certificate.
Suspension Of Governors
A governing body can suspend a governor for a period up to six months if one or more of the following grounds apply:
a governor is paid to work at the school and is subject of disciplinary proceedings in relation to his employment; a governor is the subject of any court or tribunal proceedings, the outcome of which may be that s/he is disqualified from continuing to hold office as a governor under schedule 6 of the Constitution Regulations; the governor has acted in any way that is inconsistent with the school's ethos or with the religious character and has brought or is likely to bring the school or the governing body or his office of governor into disrepute; the governor is in breach of his/her duty of confidentiality in the school, or to the staff or to the pupils.
Removal from Office
LEA governors may be removed from office by those who appointed them; community and sponsor governors may be removed by the governing body; elected parent governors cannot be removed but the governing body may remove any parent governor they have appointed; staff governors cannot be removed; a decision to remove a governor must be confirmed at a second meeting not less than 14 days after the first meeting and at both meetings this must be specified as an item of business on the agenda; the person proposing the removal of a governor must give their reasons and the governor proposed for removal must be given the opportunity to make a statement before the removal is confirmed at a meeting.
Election of Parent Governors
In accordance with Section 15 of the Education Act 1986, parent governors must be elected by secret ballot. The Corporate Director, Children and Lifelong Learning has delegated the role of returning officer for the elections to headteachers. In the event of any difficulties the advice of the Director should be sought. Staff in Governor Services will act on behalf of the Director. Headteachers are recommended not to wait until the term of office of the existing parent governor comes to an end before starting the election process. At least four weeks prior to the expiry date the following procedures ought to be implemented to ensure continuity in the governing body:
Seeking Nominations the headteacher should distribute a letter informing parents that an election for parent governors is to be held. The letter (see model 1) should also inform parents of their right to stand as a candidate for election and that nomination forms are available from the school office. The date by which the nomination form should be returned should be stipulated. Two weeks is a reasonable period of time for the return of nomination forms; any pupil not at school on the day that the letter is sent out should be identified and every effort made to send the letter by first class post that same day; ‘parent’ includes a step-parent, guardian or other person having care of the child, or having parental responsibility. This means that it is possible for a child to have more than two ‘parents’ eligible to participate in an election; candidates should have a proposer and seconder and nomination forms signed by all three. Candidates returning nomination forms should be advised to also submit a brief statement about themselves (see model 2);
Conducting the Ballot following the closing date for receipt of nomination forms the headteacher should write to parents enclosing a ballot paper and a list of candidates, in alphabetical order, with a brief statement of each candidate. The ballot paper should clearly indicate the number of votes each parent has and the date on which they must be returned (see model 3); letters should be sent, and returned, via pupil post. Again, any pupil not at school on the day that the letter is sent out should be identified and every reasonable effort made to send the letter by first class post that same day; remember to send the appropriate number of ballot papers for the ‘parents’ entitled to vote; each parent is entitled to only return one ballot paper, irrespective of the number of children in the family attending school; every effort should be made to ensure that duplicated ballot papers are not returned, perhaps by ‘stamping’ each one or numbering them. (Ballot papers posted at random cannot be traced back to individual parents by the reference number); instructions to parents on returning completed ballot papers should be clear, whilst ensuring that the ballot is undertaken secretly. Papers could be returned in the following ways:by pupil post with ballot papers, whether in an envelope or not, placed immediately in the ballot box; by Royal Mail with envelopes addressed to the school and marked ‘Parent Governor Elections’. Again, the unopened envelopes should be placed immediately in the ballot box;
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by hand, with parents given the opportunity to put the ballot paper directly into the ballot box;
the ballot box should be placed in an area to allow easy access whilst at the same time preventing it from being tampered with e.g. Secretary’s office; the ballot box could be ‘home-made’ or you may wish to contact your local Borough or District Council for the loan of a sealed ballot box for the duration of the election period; one or two weeks is a reasonable period of time for the return of ballot papers but a specific date must be given and any received after that date must not be counted.
Counting the Votes all candidates, or their chosen representative, should be given the opportunity of being present when the count takes place. Inability to attend, however, will not invalidate the count taking place on the agreed date; care should be taken to ensure that all ballot papers are removed before discarding envelopes; in the event of a tie the candidates’ names should be drawn from a hat, in the presence of an independent parent witness.
Announcing the Result the headteacher should announce the result of the election by posting a notice on the school’s notice board. The name and address of the person(s) appointed should be sent to staff in Governor Services; the result of the election should be included in the next newsletter or general information letter sent to parents; a summary of the election process should be included in the annual report to parents.
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Model 1 Amended Specimen Letter Specimen Letter - Election of Parent Governors
Dear Parent, (A vacancy/two vacancies etc.) exists on our school’s governing body. I am writing to inform you of the election arrangements and to invite you to stand for election. Parent governors are appointed for a period of up to four years, irrespective of whether their children remain in school during that period. Parents who are willing, and eligible, to stand as a candidate for election may obtain nomination forms from the school office. The nomination form then needs to be signed by the candidate and two other parents. Parents of all children currently registered at the school are entitled to stand for election or to nominate others. For these purposes ‘parent’ includes a step-parent, guardian or other persons having parental responsibility. Please note that if you are employed at this school for more than 500 hours in the year (i.e. more than one third) you are not eligible to put yourself forward for election. You will, however, be entitled to vote in the election. A completed nomination form must be returned to the school no later than (date). It would be helpful if candidates would submit a brief statement about themselves. This will be distributed to all parents to help them to make their decision when voting. As soon as possible following the closing date for nominations all parents will be sent a ballot paper giving details of each of the candidates. Parents will be asked to indicate their preference as appropriate and return the ballot paper to the school office no later than the date shown. To comply with statutory regulations the ballot will be conducted in secret. All candidates will be invited to attend the count although it will not be invalidated due to inability to attend. The results of the ballot will be posted on the school notice board immediately following the count. Yours sincerely,
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Model 2 Appointment of Parent Governor - Nomination Form
Name: Address: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Telephone No. ________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________
Name of Child(ren) And Class Candidate Information:
Please state, as briefly as possible, the contribution you feel you could make to the governing body.
Name of parent proposing the nomination: ______________________________(Print) ______________________________(Sign) Name of parent seconding the nomination: ______________________________(Print) ______________________________(Sign) Please return this form to the school office no later than (date).
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Model 3 Election of Parent Governors - Ballot Paper
Further to my letter of (date) the following nominations have been received for election as parent governor. Name of Candidate Mr A. Candidate information Mrs B. Candidate information Miss C. Candidate information An ‘x’ should be placed in the box of the candidate of your choice and please remember that you are voting for (number of candidates). Irrespective of the number of children you may have in school each parent is only entitled to return one ballot paper. Please return completed ballot papers to the school no later than (date). Please return by whichever of the following methods suits you best: - pupil post (if returned in an envelope please mark it ‘Parent Governor Elections’) - Royal Mail (envelopes marked ‘Parent Governor Elections) - by hand personally placing ballot paper into the ballot box Vote Here
Ballot Papers received after the above date will not be counted.
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Appendix 4 Governor Services - School Improvement Division
Address: The Kingston Centre Fairway Stafford. ST16 3TW
Governor Helpline: (01785) 277448 Governor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Governor Services
Ian Bloor Telephone (01785) 278682 E-mail: email@example.com
Manager - Governor Training and Development
Ian Bloor Telephone (01785) 278682 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager - Clerking Agency
Stephen Berisford Telephone (01785) 278802 E-mail: email@example.com
Elaine Leigh Wendy Maddox Gitte Wilson Clare Bishop Telephone (01785) 278803 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone (01785) 278726 E-mail: email@example.com Telephone (01785) 278790 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone (01785) 278790 E-mail: email@example.com
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