Monday, 14 February 2011

The legal responsibilities of School governors

The legal duties and responsibilities of governors

School Governors have the following statutory duties relating to:

• the constitution, functions and membership of governing bodies
(sections 19, 20, 23 and 34 of the Education Act 2002);

• the conduct of the school and to promote high standards of educational achievement: promoting the wellbeing of pupils at the school and promoting community cohesion (section 21 of the Education Act 2002 as amended by section 38 of the Education & Inspections Act 2006);

• the control of school premises (section 40 of and Schedule 13 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998);

• the determination of school session times (section 32 of the Education Act 2002);

• the right to a delegated school budget and expenditure for community use (sections 50, 51 and 51A of the School Standards & Framework Act 1998);

• the provision of religious education (section 69 of and Schedule 19 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998);

• the employment and dismissal of staff (sections 35-37 of the Education Act 2002, and additional provisions for staffing at foundation or voluntary schools with religious character – sections 58 and 60 of the School standards & Framework Act 1998 as amended by section 37 of the Education & Inspections Act 2006);

• the primary legislation also places requirements on governing bodies concerning their relationship with stakeholders, for example, by providing parents with an annual report (maintained nursery schools only), having a process in place for dealing with complaints (section 30 and 29 respectively of the Education Act 2002) and having regard to the views expressed by parents of registered pupils (section 21(5) of the Education Act 2002 as amended by section 38 of the Education & Inspections Act 2006);

• the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum (sections 78 & 79 of the Education Act 2002) and to exercise their functions so as to implement the National Curriculum, including any tests (section 88 of Education Act 2002);

• the behaviour, discipline and welfare of pupils (section 88 of the Education & Inspections Act 2006 and section 175 of the Education Act 2002), including home-school agreements (section 110 of the School Standards & Framework Act 1998);

• admissions (Part 3 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998,as variously amended), and further functions in the case of governing bodies who are the admissions authority for the school (Part III, Chapter 1
of the School Standards & Framework Act 1998 (as variously amended);

• consultation with pupils (sections 176 of the Education Act 2002);

• the preparation of a post-Ofsted inspection action plan (section 39 Education Act 2005;

• religious worship (sections 70 School Standards & Framework Act 1998, as amended);

• charging (section 457 of the Education Act 1996);

• the setting of targets for pupil attainment (section 19 of the Education Act 1997);

• foundation governors of a VA school with a religious character must preserve and develop this character and ensure compliance with the trust deed (The School Governance (Constitution) (England)Regulations 2007).

Complementing and supporting these core responsibilities and requirements, governing bodies also have powers relating to:

• innovation in schools (section 1 of the Education Act 2002, with sections 2-5 of the same setting out administrative arrangements);

• the formation of companies (sections 11-13 of the Education Act 2002);

• governing body collaboration or federation, including collaboration with Further Education Institutions (sections 24-26 of the Education Act 2002,section 116 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006);

• the provision of community facilities (section 27 of the Education Act 2002);

• publishing proposals to make prescribed alterations to the school (including to change category). Voluntary and foundation school governing bodies have additional powers to publish proposals to close the school (Part 2 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006).

These lists of duties and powers of governing bodies are not exhaustive but indicate the key areas of governing body functions.

Taken from the The 21st Century School: Implications and Challenges for Governing Bodies A report from the Ministerial Working Group on School Governance first published in April 2010 http://www.nga.org.uk/uploadfiles/documents/DCSF-00351-2010.pdf

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