The Commons Education Select Committee releases July 2013 report on Governing Bodies

27 Aug

The Education Select Committee published its report on The Role of School Governing Body on 4 July 2013.  See the report here.

Its recommendations are as follows. 

(i)   Governors should be paid only in exceptional circumstances such as when they deploy their skills to assist other schools.

(ii)  The Department for Education (DfE) should require schools to offer new governors induction training.

(iii) Headteachers should undergo training on governance.   Headteachers and the chairs of governing bodies should undertake training (possibly together) to assist with mutual understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities.

(iv) The DfE should work with the NGA to develop a version of the Governors’ Handbook which contains detailed guidance aimed at clerks and experienced governors.

(v)  Every governing body should be encouraged to participate in peer-to-peer governance reviews and to undertake self-assessment and skills audits.

(vi) The appointment of the chair needs to be robust and accompanied by clear procedures for removing the poorly performing chair from office.   The governing body should be given the power to remove poorly performing governors.  (N.B.: The governing body currently has the power to suspend a governor for good cause.)

(vii)The DfE should act upon the findings of the project of the NGA and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) which explored the professionalization of the clerk’s role.

(viii)In welcoming the decision of government to fund the School Governors’ One Stop Shop (SGOSS) for a further two years, the Select Committee was of the view that SGOSS should be tasked with recruiting clerks to governing bodies, where they are required.

(ix)  The DfE and Ofsted should do more to tackle underperforming governing bodies.

(x)   The government should review the existing regulations and legislative requirements in regard to the respective roles and responsibilities of governors and headteachers to ensure clarity regarding the proper division of strategic and operational functions in school leadership.

(xi)  Given the independence of academies’ governance structure, parents should be provided with clarity as to how decisions are made in academies along with data on where to turn in the event of concerns arising.

(xii) The DfE should study the effectiveness of the governing bodies leading groups of schools, i.e. federations and multi-academy trusts and particularly look at what is an effective size for such a structure.

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