Friday, 10 December 2010

Pupils as School governors?

Attempts to link governing bodies with pupils and pupil councils have a long history. Since the beginning of school governing bodies, a few schools have given pupils observer status at meetings, or provided time at meetings for pupils to raise issues. The 1977 Taylor Report recommended the statutory inclusion of parents and pupils on Governing Bodies. The 1980 Act required each school to have a governing body, with parental but not pupils’ representation.

An Education Select Committee again recommended the inclusion of pupils. The DfES response was to reject the idea, although it conceded: “We agree that governing bodies should establish arrangements which enable them to keep in touch with the views of pupils as well as their parents”.

From September 2003, pupils of any age can serve as associate members of their own or any other school governing body or committees, although pupils under the age of eighteen will not be given voting rights. In order to do this, a school governing body will need to reconstitute itself.

School governing bodies could embrace this change, to the point where the inclusion of pupils on governing bodies, possibly with voting rights, will be as universal and welcomed as parent governors are today. Beyond this, it may become compulsory for pupils to be represented on governing bodies. Parent governors emerged in this way, first as a voluntary initiative in a few Local authorities before becoming compulsory at a later point.

Schools could consider the appointment of Pupil Associate Members, but decide that there are other, more effective ways of encouraging pupil participation in decision making, including the creation of less formal links with governing bodies.

Read more on the subject here

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