Saturday, 25 June 2011

School Governing Body Meetings and Audio/Video Conferencing

School Governors who are often away on business and cannot attend meetings often ask whether they can participate through video or telephone conferencing.

The Department for Education (DfE) states ‘unless the governing body applies to the DfE to experiment with video/telephone conferencing, skype etc, the normal rules apply.

In other words, if the governor is not present at the meeting, they have no vote and they do not count towards the quorum.

If only one governor needs to join via audio or video conferencing then this probably doesn't present a huge problem as long as the governing body is quorate and the school governor attending via video conferencing understands they can nor take part in any votes.

One example of this recently blogged on gave an example of a School Governor attending Governing Body meeting via Skype from New Zealand.

If the whole governing body wanted to meet via video or audio conferencing then they would need to apply for permission to the Department of Education.

One example of a Community school governing body being granted permission to use Video Conferencing is Monkseaton Community High School in North Tyneside

They have an order granted in March 2009 which exempts the governing body of Monkseaton Community High School from certain requirements contained in the School Governance Procedures (England) Regulations, the Order relaxes the requirement for all governors to be physically present at governing body meetings, and allows the use of technology such as e-voting and video conferencing when making governing body decisions. The governing body have previously found that this relaxation has helped attract new parent and corporate governors to the school, and has helped ensure all governors can play a full role in the effective management of the school. The 2009 Order was made for three years and must be renewed every three years.

Link to the order:

Academies Act

However, If you are a governor of an Academy you can participate in meetings by telephone/video conferencing provided you give:

. 48 hrs notice and contact details

. you have access to appropriate equipment

. if the contact cannot be made, the meeting can continue provided it is quorate

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