Saturday, 10 September 2011

School Governing Body Committees Part 2


There are no legal requirements about when and how often committees should meet. It should however be possible (and this is what we would recommend) to draw up an annual plan of meetings and main agenda items. 

We would recommend that Policy committees should meet at least once per term, before the full meeting of the governing body, to enable their decisions and actions to be reported to all governors.

Implementation committees will have some regular issues to deal with, which can be planned for.  The annual review of staff salaries and the performance management of the Headteacher are two examples.  However, many implementation committee meetings will be held only as and when issues arise. 

Normally, the Chair of the committee and the Headteacher will decide when a meeting is required. 

The Chair of the committee, the Headteacher or the Clerk will agree who of them is to give all those with attendance rights, in normal circumstances, 7 days written notice of the meeting. 


The School Governance (Procedures) (England) Regulations 2003 contain  important provisions relating to committees.  These are outlined below: 

1) The governing body can delegate any of its statutory functions to a committee, a governor or the Headteacher, except for the points in 2 and 3 below:

2) The governing body cannot delegate responsibility for decisions relating to:

• the constitution of the governing body; 

• the appointment or removal of the Chair or Vice-Chair; 

• the appointment of the Clerk to the governors; 

• the suspension of governors; 

• the delegation of functions - so committees cannot set up subcommittees. 

3) The governing body can delegate some functions to a committee but not to an individual:

• decisions on altering, discontinuing or changing the category of the school; 

• decisions on School Discipline Policy; 

• reviewing pupil exclusions (except for the Chair’s power to act in an emergency);

• decisions on Admissions Policy and arrangements. 

4) The governing body must review annually the way it has delegated responsibility to committees and individuals.  This includes: 

• the terms of reference of the committee i.e., what it is that the committee is entitled to do - and expected to do - on behalf of the governing body;

• the quorum of the committee (normally at least 3 governors); 

• the Chair of the committee; 

• the Clerk of the committee (the Headteacher cannot act as Clerk). 

5) All committees (or individuals with delegated powers) must report their actions and decisions to the full governing body.  Best practice is for written minutes to be sent to all governors prior to the next meeting of the full governing body. 

6) Most of the rules which apply to full governing body meetings also apply to 
committee meetings.  These include:

• the Clerk must send all members of the committee and the Headteacher written notice of each committee meeting, including the agenda and any papers to be considered at the meeting, at least seven clear days in advance of the meeting;

• minutes of the meeting must be drawn up by the Clerk and signed by the Chair at the next meeting of the governing body. 

• the agenda, signed minutes and the papers considered at the meeting must be available at the school “for inspection by an interested person”.  

Confidential material can be excluded - this may mean, in some cases, producing two sets of minutes, one open to the public and the other confidential. 

7)       The Regulations lay down minimum quorums for committee meetings.  

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