The Standing Orders provide the high level objectives and operating procedures for the Governing Body, consistent with the statutory requirements specified by the Department for Education. They should be read in conjunction with the Governor Code of Conduct and Scheme of Delegation.
Statutory requirements referenced in this document are given by paragraph number against the following regulations:
(A) The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 (see here),
(B) The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013 (see here),
(C) The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (see here)
The Governing Body hereby resolves that:
Election and Removal of Chair and Vice-Chair
- The Chair and Vice-Chair will be elected annually (B.7) at the first Full Governing Body meeting of the academic year, to serve a term of one year. Staff governors and the Headteacher cannot be chair or vice-chair of the governing body. Governors will be able to submit written or verbal nominations prior to this meeting, including self-nominations. Additional nominations can be received on the day.
Where there are multiple nominees, they will be asked to leave the room while the election process takes place. This will involve a show of hands or a secret ballot (as agreed by the remaining governors). If a secret ballot is agreed the clerk will tally the votes and inform those present. In the event of a tie the decision will be based on the toss of a coin.
- The chair or vice-chair may be removed by resolution of the Governing Body (B.9), provided the matter is specified as an agenda item in advance. The Governor proposing the removal must at that meeting state their reasons for doing so, and the Chair / Vice-Chair be given an opportunity to make a statement in response, before withdrawing from the meeting.
Appointment and Removal of the Clerk to the Governing Body
- The governing body will appoint a clerk (B.10), who must not be a governor, an associate member, or the headteacher of the school. The governing body may remove a clerk from office by resolution. The clerk’s statutory duties are as specified in B.11.
- All governors agree to abide by the Code of Conduct. As a last resort, the Governing Body can suspend a member of the Governing Body for up to six months, for any of the reasons specified in B.17.
- A governor who without the consent of the Governing Body fails to attend Governing Body meetings for a period of six months is automatically disqualified (A. Sch4.9:2). Further grounds for disqualification are given in A. Sch 4.
- All governors must hold an enhanced criminal record certificate (DBS). Where a governor is elected or appointed and does not hold an enhanced criminal record certificate, the governing body must apply for such a certificate in respect of that governor within 21 days after his or her appointment or election (C.2).
Meetings and proceedings of the Full Governing Body
- All active governors, associate members and the Headteacher are entitled to attend all meetings of the Full Governing Body (B.12).
- The Full Governing Body will meet a minimum of once every full term (three times per year). Additional meetings will be scheduled to address specific topics as and when required. The agenda and papers shall be sent to governors seven days before the meeting. Extraordinary meetings of the Full Governing Body may be requisitioned by any three members by giving written notice to the clerk, who must convene a meeting as soon as reasonably practicable (B.13).
- Governors are expected to attend Full Governing Body meetings in person. They may attend remotely through video conferencing technology in exceptional circumstances and by agreement in advance (B.14:8).
- Consent (or otherwise) for absence will be a standard item on meeting agendas.
- Each governor must declare at the start of any meeting if there is an item on the agenda which poses a potential conflict of interest or where a fair hearing is required and his/her impartiality is in doubt. In such a case, the governor concerned must withdraw from the discussion and may not vote. In the event of a dispute the Governing Body decides whether the individual should withdraw. An annual register of interests will be maintained by the Clerk, and updated at the first Full Governing Body meeting of the academic year (B.16).
- Quorum for the Full Governing Body is seven. All matters are decided by a majority vote. In the event of a tie the Chair (or Acting Chair) has an additional (casting) vote, except in the election of the Chair / Vice-Chair (paragraph 1). (B.14)
- Draft minutes should be prepared by the clerk, shared as soon as possible with governors after the meeting, and signed by the Chair following ratification at the subsequent meeting. Signed minutes will then be posted to the school’s website for public inspection, with the exception of confidential items (e.g. items which refer to an individual parent pupil or member of staff), subject to FOI requirements. (B.15)
Delegation to Committees and Individuals
- Delegation of Governing Body tasks to committees, individuals and the Headteacher will be as specified in the Scheme of Delegation, which will be reviewed and agreed annually at the first Full Governing Body meeting of the academic year (B.18), and be compliant with the restrictions specified in B.19. Any governor, headteacher or committee who has been given delegated authority to carry out a Governing Body function must report any decisions or actions to the Governing Body (B.20)
- The governing body shall appoint a chair and clerk to each committee, neither of whom can be the Headteacher (B.22 & B.23). The committee will decide their terms of reference, constitution and quorum, which must be at least 3 governors (B.22).
- The agenda and papers for each committee meetings shall be sent to the governors 7 days before the meeting. Minutes of all committee meetings will be circulated to all governors (B.26)
- These requirements do not apply to other working groups that lack delegated powers (B.21)
- If it is not viable to call a meeting of the Governing Body at short notice, the Chair (or the Vice-Chair if the Chair is absent) may take urgent action in circumstances where a delay may be seriously detrimental to the interests of the school, any pupil at the school (or their parent), or any person who works at the school (B.8).