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Governor Services

Appointing local education

authority governors

Notes of guidance for County Councillors

Contents

Introduction

Appointment of Authority Governors to Hampshire Schools - Code of Practice

Recruitment and consultation

Support and development opportunities

Nominations

  • Balance

  • Stability and continuity

  • People who are related

  • Parents, teachers and staff

  • Voluntary and foundation school nominations

  • Appointment to more than one governing body

  • Additional Authority governors

  • Disqualification from membership of governing bodies

  • Assistance in finding suitable candidates

Objections to nomination and removal of Authority governors

Appendix 1 The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003  Part 2, paragraph 6, sections 1) and 2)Schedule 6

Introduction

As a county councillor you are responsible for recommending candidates for appointment as local education authority (LEA) governors for schools in your electoral division. This should be done in accordance with the Code of Practice overleaf, which was adopted by Hampshire County Council at its meeting on 20th May 1999. Authority governors are appointed for a four year term of office.

Governors have a vital role to play as the link between schools, the local community and the LA. It is your responsibility to recommend governors who have a keen and active interest in education and who are able to commit their time, skills and energy to an effective involvement in school life.

The strength of a governing body lies in the collective knowledge, experience and expertise of its members. The governing body has important powers and duties:

An effective governing body must be able to work as a team and this demands regular attendance and energetic commitment from all its members.

Governors need to have a good relationship with the headteacher and must get to know the school, staff and pupils well. To be most effective, governors and governing bodies need to devote time to formal training and development.

Being a governor requires a considerable amount of time and effort and this commitment is increasing as the responsibilities of governing bodies widen. Both you, as a county councillor, and prospective LEA governors, should be fully aware of the role the governor will need to play and be satisfied that they will be able to make an effective contribution to school life.

Appointment of Authority governors to Hampshire schools - Code of Practice

1 Authority governors are appointed by the County Council on the nomination of the elected member for the electoral division in which the school is based, subject to paragraph 2 and the addendum below.

2 All new and re-nominated Authority governors will be subject to a vetting process to check that they are eligible to be a governor under current school government regulations.

3 County Councillors, part of whose electoral division makes up 50% or more of the school catchment area, may make representations to the nominating County Councillor concerning the filling of Authority governorships.

4 Governing bodies may make representations to the County Council concerning the filling of Authority vacancies on their governing bodies and should bring these to the attention of their local County Councillor.

5 The County Council seeks to appoint people as Authority governors who:

6 Where an Authority governorship remains vacant for three months and the local County Councillor is unable to make a nomination an appointment may be made by the County Education Officer in consultation with the Executive Member for Education.

7 The County Council welcomes applications for governorships from all sections of the community. Casual applicants will be assessed for suitability against the criteria in 5 above by representatives of County Councillors, headteachers and governors. Where successful they will be assigned to a "pool" from which County Councillors and governing bodies may draw to fill vacancies.

8 Objections to the nomination or re-nomination of individuals as Authority governors may be made by the governing body or the County Council. They must be based on factual evidence of unsuitability rather than personal opinion. If having received the objections the County Councillor still wishes to nominate the individual concerned the matter will be referred to the Executive Member for Education and failing resolution to a Members Panel of the Education Policy Review Committee.

9 The County Council may remove an Authority governor from office for "good reason". Written notice will be given setting out the reasons for removal.

10 Authority governors are expected to attend governing body meetings regularly. Where they fail to attend for a continuous period of six months (from the date of the first meeting missed) without the consent of the governing body they are subject to the same disqualification regulations as all other governors.

The relevant Regulations are contained in Appendix 1.

Adopted by Hampshire County Council at its meeting on 20 May 1999.

Addendum (September 2004)

Following consultation with all elected members on 1 June 2004 a temporary change has been agreed to the nomination process for Authority governors affected by the implementation of the School Governance (Constitution) Regulations 2003.

This change will apply to Authority governors who have been appointed on or after 2 September 2003 and whose term of office therefore ends when their governing body reconstitutes. If there is still a post for them on the reconstituted board, under the current code, they would have to go through the nomination and appointment again to continue in office.

It has been agreed that if their governing body reconstitutes within twelve months of their date of appointment and there is space for them on the reconstituted board, the governor concerned will automatically be re-appointed for a further four year term of office.

These arrangements will apply until all Hampshire governing bodies have reconstituted, which has to be by 31 August 2006 at the latest.

Recruitment and consultation

Recruiting good governors is the priority and these guidelines amplify the Code of Practice and offer further advice.

Support and development opportunities

Ongoing support and development opportunities are available to all governors of Hampshire County Council schools. The majority of this support is offered by Hampshire Governor Services but the school to which governors are appointed also has a role. Please encourage your nominee to attend the free induction course provided as this is a vital part of the new governor's development.

Nominations

Subject to disqualification regulations, you can nominate anyone over 18 to be an Authority governor but you should try to ensure that their appointment would promote a balanced and harmonious governing body, that their skills are appropriate and they have sufficient time to devote to the role.

Candidates new to governance should be asked to complete the County Council's School Governor Application form. Once you have received the completed form you can then make your nomination by signing and dating box 7 on the form. Applicants packs which contain the application form are available from your local education office or can be sent at your request to any interested individual. For re-nomination of serving governors you should use the Personal Declaration form provided by Hampshire Governor Services. Both forms can also be found on the Governor Services website www3.hants.gov.uk/education/governors

The paragraphs below outline some issues to consider and also cover the circumstances in which someone may be disqualified from being a governor.

Disqualification from membership of governing bodies.

There are different regulations governing people's eligibility for appointment depending on whether the constitution in use by the governing body was set up under the Education (School Government) (England) regulations 1999 or the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003. By using the HCC application form or the Personal declaration form you can ensure that anyone you propose to nominate is aware of all the possible restrictions on their appointment. Please check with your local office if, after talking to the school, you are still unsure which regulations apply in a particular case. You should also make the nominee aware (e.g. By using the forms mentioned) that their application will be subject to a vetting process. If this check reveals that they are ineligible to serve as a governor they will be notified accordingly. It is an offence to serve as a governor whilst disqualified.

Balance

A governing body should have a reasonable spread of age groups and a balance of men and women. It should reflect the cultural mix of the community and have representatives from local businesses.

Stability and continuity

An effective governing body needs an element of continuity. Authority governors are normally appointed for a four year term of office. However, the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003 do allow individual Governing Bodies to specify a term of office between 1 and 4 years for any category of governor including Authority appointed governors. You should consider re-nominating governors who have undertaken training and have acquired a wealth of experience, taking into account the willingness of the governor to stand and any representations made by the governing body. At the same time an influx of new ideas and energies onto the governing body can be to a school's advantage.

People who are related

Try not to nominate people to the same governing body who are related or are living together. This can lead to potential conflicts of interest and limits the range of experience available.

Parents, teachers and non-teaching staff

Directly elected parent governors, teachers and non-teaching staff can serve on the governing body of the school(s) their children attend or at which they work. The regulations governing their eligibility to serve as Authority governors vary depending on when the governing body constitution was set up. For constitutions set up under The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003 a person may not be an Authority governor if he or she is eligible to be a staff governor at the school. There is no such restriction on appointments to constitutions set up under previous regulations.

However, when parents, staff and teachers apply to become Authority governors without the knowledge of the school, this may cause an imbalance of representation on the governing body. This has become more acute under the 2003 regulations where at least 33% of governors must be parents and at least 2 and up to 33% may be staff employed at the school. It is important that Governing Bodies maintain adequate numbers of governors who are not directly connected with the school.

Imbalance may also occur when an existing governor in a different category applies for a "swap" to Authority. As a county councillor you should be very careful in these circumstances and approach the school and local office for additional information before reaching a decision.

Voluntary and foundation school nominations

Where an area is served solely by a voluntary aided, voluntary controlled or foundation school of a particular religious denomination, you should consider nominating an Authority governor of a different denomination to that of the school's foundation.

This should ensure that attention is given to the spiritual interest of all the children attending the school irrespective of their religious persuasion.

Appointment to more than one governing body

Many people find that the significant workload and responsibilities of governorship make it difficult to fulfil the role for more than one governing body. However, if you are satisfied that the person you are putting forward has the time and the necessary level of commitment to contribute effectively to more than one governing bodies there is no reason why you should not make the nomination.

Additional Authority governors

Local authorities have the power to appoint as many additional governors as they think fit to schools requiring special measures, designated as having serious weaknesses or subject to a formal warning. You will be advised by the Strategic School Improvement Manager if any of the schools in your electoral division are in this position. The Schools Monitoring Sub Committee considers the need for additional governors and the appointment of additional governors is formally the responsibility of the County Education Officer.

Assistance in finding suitable candidates

Hampshire Governor Services holds details of people who have expressed an interest in becoming governors. These candidates have been appointed to the County Council pool of potential governors by a panel of elected members, governors and head teachers. You will need to assess the suitability of these individuals for the particular vacancy under consideration before deciding on your nomination. For details of potential governors from the pool please contact your local office shown below:

New Forest Local Office, Winsor Road, Bartley, Nr Southampton S040 2HR

Tel: 02380 814820  Email western.governor.services@hants.gov.uk

West Office (previously Fleet), Block D, Clarendon House, Monarch Way, Winchester SO22 5PW

Tel: 01962 876360 - Email fleet.governor.services@hants.gov.uk

East Office, Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant PO9 2AX

Tel: 02392 441510 - Fax: 02392 498174 - Email havant.governor.services@hants.gov.uk

Objections to nomination and removal of Authority governors

Objections to a nomination or re-nomination can come from the governing body or the County Council. They must be based on factual evidence of unsuitability rather than personal opinions.

The County Council will approach the county councillor who nominated the Authority governor and ask them to reconsider their nomination. If the county councillor refuses to do so the matter will be taken up with the Executive Member for Education. If the nomination cannot be resolved it will be referred to the Education Policy Review Committee with a view to appointing a Members' Panel with delegated responsibility to investigate and determine the issue.

In addition, any governor who fails to attend meetings of the governing body for a continuous period of six months, without the consent of the governing body, will be notified of his/her removal from office. (Sending apologies does not constitute being given permission not to attend.)

The County Council has the power to remove an Authority governor during his/her time of office on written notice being given setting out the reasons.

Appendix 1

The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2003

Part 2, para 6,below, only applies to appointments and reappointments to constitutions set up under the above regulations.

Authority governor

    

6.  - (1) In these Regulations "Authority governor" means a person who is appointed as a governor by the local authority.

   (2) A person is disqualified from appointment as an Authority governor of a school if he is eligible to be a staff governor of the school.

Schedule 6, below, applies to all governor appointments and re-appointments after 20/3/03.

SCHEDULE 6

(Regulation 20)

Qualifications and disqualifications

General

    1.  - (1) No person is qualified to be a governor unless he is aged 18 or over at the date of his election or appointment.

   (2) This provision does not apply to an associate member appointed under regulation 11.

    2. No person shall at any time hold the office of more than one governor of the same school.

    3. Save as otherwise provided in these Regulations, the fact that a person is qualified to be elected or appointed as a governor of a particular category at a school does not disqualify him from election or appointment or from continuing as a governor of any other category at that school.

Mental disorder

    4. A person is disqualified from holding or for continuing to hold office as a governor of a school at any time when he is liable to be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983[21].

Failure to attend meetings

    5.  - (1) This paragraph applies to any governor who is not a governor by virtue of his office.

   (2) A governor, who, without the consent of the governing body, has failed to attend the meetings thereof for a continuous period of six months beginning with the date of the first such meeting he failed to attend, is, on the expiry of that period, disqualified from continuing to hold office as a governor of that school.

   (3) A foundation governor (other than an ex officio foundation governor), Authority governor, community governor, partnership governor or sponsor governor who has been disqualified as a governor of a school under sub-paragraph (2) is not qualified for election nomination or appointment as a governor of any category at that school during the twelve months immediately following his disqualification under sub-paragraph (2).

Bankruptcy

    6. A person is disqualified from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor of a school if -

   (a) he has been adjudged bankrupt or sequestration of his estate has been awarded and (in either case) he has not been discharged and the bankruptcy order has not been annulled or rescinded; or

   (b) he has made a composition or arrangement with, or granted a trust deed for, his creditors and has not been discharged in respect of it.

Disqualification of company directors

    7. A person is disqualified from holding, or from continuing to hold, office as a governor of a school at any time when he is subject to -

(a) a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986,

(b) a disqualification order under Part 2 of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1989,

(c) a disqualification undertaking accepted under the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002, or

(d) an order made under section 429(2)(b) of the insolvency Act 1986 (failure to pay under county court administration order).

Disqualification of charity trustees

    8. A person is disqualified from holding or from continuing to hold office as a governor of a school if -

(a) he has been removed from the office of trustee for a charity by an order made by the Charity Commissioners or the High Court on the grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity for which he was responsible or to which he was privy, or to which he contributed or which he facilitated by his conduct; or

(b) he has been removed, under section 7 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990[24] (powers of Court of Session to deal with management of charities), from being concerned in the management or control of any body.

Persons whose employment is prohibited or restricted

    9. A person is disqualified from holding or from continuing to hold office as a governor of a school at any time when he is -

   (a) included in the list of teachers and workers with children or young persons whose employment is prohibited or restricted under section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1999[25];

   (b) subject to a direction of the Secretary of State under section 142 of the 2002 Act;

   (c) disqualified from working with children under sections 28 and 29 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000[26]; or

   (d) by virtue of an order made under section 470 or section 471 of the 1996 Act [27], disqualified from being the proprietor of any independent school or from being a teacher or other employee in any school.

Criminal convictions

    10.  - (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (6) below, a person is disqualified from holding, or continuing to hold, office as a governor of a school where any of sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) or (6) below apply to him.

   (2) This sub-paragraph applies to a person if -

   (a) within the period of five years ending with the date immediately preceding the date on which his appointment or election as governor would otherwise have taken effect or, as the case may be, on which he would otherwise have become a governor by virtue of his office, or

   (b) since his appointment or election as governor or, as the case may be, since he became a governor by virtue of his office,he has been convicted, whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, of any offence and has had passed on him a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than three months without the option of a fine.

   (3) This sub-paragraph applies to a person if within the period of 20 years ending with the date immediately preceding the date on which his appointment or election as governor would otherwise have taken effect or, as the case may be, on which he would otherwise have become a governor by virtue of his office, he has been convicted as aforesaid of any offence and has had passed on him a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than two and a half years.

   (4) This sub-paragraph applies to a person if he has at any time been convicted as aforesaid of any offence and he has had passed on him a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than five years.

   (5) For the purposes of sub-paragraphs (2) to (4) above, any conviction by or before a court outside the United Kingdom of an offence which, if the facts giving rise to the offence had taken place in any part of the United Kingdom, would not have constituted an offence under the law in force in that part of the United Kingdom must be disregarded.

   (6) This sub-paragraph applies to a person if -

(a) within the period of five years ending with the date immediately preceding the date on which his appointment or election as governor would otherwise have taken effect or, as the case may be, on which he would otherwise have become a governor by virtue of his office, or

(b) since his appointment or election as governor or, as the case may be, since he became a governor by virtue of his office,

he has been convicted under section 547 of the 1996 Act[28] or under section 85A of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992[29] (nuisance and disturbance on educational premises) of an offence and has been sentenced to a fine.

Refusal to make an application for a criminal records certificate

    11. A person is disqualified from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor at any time when he refuses a request by the clerk to the governing body to make an application under section 113 of the Police Act 1997[30] for a criminal records certificate.

Notification to clerk

    12. Where, by virtue of any paragraphs 6 to 10 -

   (a) a person is disqualified from holding, or for continuing to hold, office as a governor of a school; and

he shall give notice of that fact to the clerk to the governing body.

 

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