Views sought on major changes to school governing bodies

11 Nov 2016 01:59 PM

Parents, teachers and the wider public are being asked for their views on plans to make major changes to school governing bodies as of Friday 11th Nov.

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has launched a consultation on a range of new proposals to provide governing bodies with the flexibility to appoint governors with the necessary skills and to organise themselves in a way that meets their needs.

The current rules for school governing bodies have been in place since 1996.

Suggested reforms include:

  • Greater flexibility to make their own decisions about their structure and membership, with a focus on skilled governors.
  • A minimum of seven governors in all schools except voluntary and foundation schools, consisting of parent, staff, local authority, and community governors, as well as the head teacher.
  • A new category of ‘co-opted governors’ recruited specifically for their skills with no upper limit on the overall size of any type of governing body.
  • Audits of members to identify any gaps in the skills they need to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
  • Extend the category of parent governor so there will be appointed parent governors alongside their elected colleagues.
  • Flexibility to have as many parent governors as they wish as long as elected parent governors do not outnumber appointed parent governors.
  • Allowing parents of former pupils to be appointed as parent governor and ending the current system where governing bodies have restrictions on the number of parent governors they may have.
  • Giving governing bodies the flexibility to increase or decrease their numbers more easily, including appointing ‘associate members’ or non governors to committees, whenever specific expertise or experience is needed.
  • The requirement for an independent person – which currently only applies where a staff disciplinary and dismissal committee is dealing with a matter involving harm to a pupil - will be extended to all staff disciplinary and dismissal committees, as well as head and deputy head teacher selection committees.

Kirsty Williams said:

“There are around 23,000 school governors in Wales who give their time voluntarily to help raise standards in our schools and I greatly value all that they do.

“However, while the world has changed in the last 20 years, our school governing system hasn’t. School governing bodies do not have the flexibility to adapt to meet the specific needs of their schools.

“I want to make changes so that school governors have the skills and ability to play their important role in improving the education we provide to our pupils.”