Major changes to school governing bodies will be unveiled by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams later today (Tues 28th June).
The Welsh Government is to consult on a range of new proposals to provide governing bodies with the flexibility to appoint governors with the skills needed to be effective and to determine their constitution to meet their specific 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 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:
“The world has changed in the last 20 years, but our school governing system hasn’t. 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.
“This includes ensuring they have the necessary skills, giving them flexibility to determine their constitution and bring in specialist support when they need it. For example, they may want to appoint an auditor or accountant as an associate member of their finance committee for a specific time.
“Most importantly I want to keep the voice of parents at the heart of our schools as key members on the governing body. .
“School governing bodies are central to the success of our schools. They set the direction for the school, and hold the head teacher to account for the school’s educational and financial performance. I want to make sure they are equipped to do the best job possible.”