Current legislation gives to governing bodies the flexibility to decide their own procedures unless there is a specific legislative requirement to operate in a particular way.
Whilst most governing bodies conduct business in a relatively informal way there is much benefit in having a framework to formalise the business of the governing body.
Standing orders provide such a framework and can avoid disputes arising by procedures and conventions having been agreed previously by the governing body. Standing orders cannot replace regulations or statutory guidance but are additional and supplementary to them.
Standing orders for procedural workings of the governing body of Brompton Hall School.
1. Meetings of the governing body
The governing body shall meet 4 times each school year. (Note: governing bodies are legally required to meet at least 3 times per school year)
2. Chair and vice-chair – term of Office
The chair and vice-chair shall have a term of office of one year. The term shall begin at the second governing body meeting of the summer term at which the chair and vice-chair are normally elected and shall end at the first meeting following the first anniversary of their election
When the office of chair or vice-chair becomes vacant the governing body must elect a new chair or vice-chair at the next meeting. If the chair is absent from a meeting, or if the chair is vacant, the vice-chair will act as chair for all purposes.
3. Election of chair and vice-chair
The clerk shall take the chair for the item dealing with the election of the chair and, in the event of a failure to elect a chair, for the item dealing with the election of the vice-chair. In the event of the governing body failing to elect a chair or a vice-chair the governing body shall elect a chair for the meeting. In the event of the governing body failing to elect a chair for the meeting then the meeting shall stand adjourned and the clerk, acting in consultation with the immediate past chair and the head teacher, shall convene a further meeting within 28 days of the adjournment.
4. Election of chair and vice-chair – procedure
The following procedure shall apply to the election of the chair and vice-chair:
- the clerk shall invite nominations from the meeting. A governor may nominate him/herself;
- if only one candidate is nominated that candidate must withdraw from the meeting whilst the remaining governors vote by secret ballot on whether to accept or reject the nominated candidate. In the event of an equality of votes the clerk does not have a casting vote and a "no decision" shall be recorded in the minutes;
- the clerk shall then invite further nominations from the meeting. If a further candidate is nominated but the result is the same, or the candidate is rejected, the clerk shall move on to the election of the vice-chair. The election of the chair shall then be placed as an item on the agenda for the next meeting of the governing body;
- if two candidates are nominated then both nominated candidates shall withdraw from the meeting whilst a secret ballot takes place. The chair shall be elected by a simple majority of the votes cast. In the event of each candidate polling the same number of votes then the successful candidate shall be decided by the toss of a coin;
- if 3 or more candidates are nominated and none of the candidates achieves a simple majority of the votes cast (e.g. 5.3.3.) then there shall be a second secret ballot to try to achieve a candidate with a simple majority (e.g. 6.3.2.) or, failing that, the candidate with the fewest votes (e.g. 5.4.2.) shall be eliminated;
- the unsuccessful candidate may then return to the meeting and a further secret ballot takes place between the two remaining candidates;
- following his/her election the chair shall take over the meeting immediately and conduct the election of the vice-chair using the same procedure.
- if the governing body fails to elect a chair or a vice-chair it shall elect a chair for the meeting;
- if the meeting fails to elect a chair for the meeting then the meeting shall stand adjourned and shall be re-convened within four weeks.
5. Annual calendar of meetings and business
At the second meeting of the summer term the governing body shall approve a calendar of governing body and committee meetings and of planned business for the ensuing year and the clerk shall, within 14 days, of the meeting provide a copy of the calendar to all members of the governing body.
6. Notice of meetings and agenda
Every member of the governing body shall receive the following at least seven clear days in advance of a meeting:
- written notice of the meeting;
- a copy of the agenda for the meeting;
- a copy of any reports or papers to be considered at the meeting.
This standing order shall not apply where the chair of the governing body so determines on the ground that there are matters demanding urgent consideration. In that case the written notice of the meeting shall state that fact and the agenda, reports and other papers to be considered at the meeting are received within such shorter period, as the chair shall direct.
Where the governing agree, notice can be sent by email but this should be discussed in the FGB and a protocol agreed. Governors who have shared family emails should set up one for themselves which is not accessed by other family members and all aspects of confidentiality should be discussed.
7. Agenda Items
With the agreement of the chair of the governing body or of the relevant committee any member of the governing body shall be entitled to include, on the agenda for any governing body or committee meeting, an item(s) on any particular issue provided that written notice thereof is given, as appropriate, to
the chair of the governing body, or of the relevant committee and to the clerk at least 14 days prior to the meeting taking place.
- the quorum for a meeting of the governing body shall be not less than 50% of the number of governors in post at the time of the meeting or such other number as may be determined from time to time by regulations issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families;
- the quorum for a meeting of any committee of the governing body shall be at least three (3) governors who are members of that committee;
- associate members shall not be included in the calculation for quorum purposes.
- every proposition shall be seconded prior to the vote being taken;
- every proposition shall be determined by a show of hands or, at the discretion of the chair of the meeting, by general consensus;
- only those governors at the meeting and present in the room at the time of the proposition being put by the chair shall be entitled to vote; (please note the one exception to this is a vote to change the name of the school where ALL governors would be required to vote and for this reason a proxy vote is allowed, this would also require the school to adopt the 2012 School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations)
- in the event of a tied vote the chair shall have a second or casting vote;
- after a proposition is put from the chair, but before the vote is taken, any two governors by show of hands may require that the voting be recorded in the minutes of the meeting to show whether each governor present gave his/her vote for or against the proposition or abstained from voting. It is recommended that this would be a confidential minute;
- after a proposition is put from the chair, but before the vote is taken, any two governors by show of hands may require that the voting shall be by secret ballot;
- in the event of requisitions for both a secret ballot and a recorded vote then the requisition for the secret ballot shall take precedence and no action shall be taken on the requisition for a recorded vote.
10. Confidential Matters
Prior to the consideration of or discussion on any matter on any agenda for a meeting of the governing body or of any committee, consideration shall be given as to whether the matter includes confidential information and the governing body or committee shall determine whether the public or any other person, not being a member of the governing body, should be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the matter. In the event of any matter being deemed to be confidential then the minutes of the discussion and decision shall be excluded from the minutes of the meeting to be made available for public inspection. This standing order is additional to the requirement for governors to withdraw from a meeting and take no part in the consideration or voting on any item in which they have a declarable interest as required by standing order 18.
11. Minutes of Meetings
The draft minutes of all governing body and committee meetings shall be approved by the chair of the meeting within 14 days of the meeting having taken place. Thereafter the approved draft governing body minutes shall be circulated to all members of the governing body within 21 days of the meeting having taken place. The minutes of committee meetings shall be circulated with the agenda for the next succeeding governing body meeting.
All non-confidential minutes shall be made available for public inspection only after they have been submitted for approval to the next succeeding meeting of the governing body or committee, as appropriate.
12. Record of Attendance
Every governor attending a meeting of the governing body or of any of its committees of which s/he is a member shall sign her/his name in the attendance book or sheet provided for that purpose.
13. Apologies for non-attendance at meetings of the governing body
All apologies together with the reason(s) for non-attendance at a meeting of the governing body shall be submitted to the clerk or to the chair not later than the commencement of the meeting. The governing body shall then determine whether such absence(s) should be treated as a ‘consented’ or ‘non-consented’ absence(s) and recorded as such in the minutes of the meeting. The failure to submit an apology shall be deemed to be a ‘non-consented’ absence and recorded as such in the minutes of the meeting.
14. Disqualification for non-attendance
Any governor, with the exception of the head teacher, who fails to attend any meeting of the governing body for a consecutive period of 6 months without the approval of the governing body, and such approval being recorded in the minutes, shall be automatically disqualified from serving as a governor. The period of 6 months shall begin from the date of the first meeting missed by the governor. Foundation (but not ex-officio foundation) governors, community governors, partnership governors or sponsor governors so disqualified shall not be eligible for nomination, election or re-appointment as a governor of any category for a period of 12 months immediately following his/her disqualification. Parent or staff governors are eligible for nomination and election (or appointment in the case of parent governors) immediately following their disqualification.
15. Records of the governing body
The clerk to the governing body shall be responsible for maintaining and keeping up to date the records of the governing body which for the purpose of this standing order shall comprise the following:
- the minutes of the meetings of the governing body and it’s committees;
- the record of attendance;
- the register of business interests;
- the record of hospitality/gifts;
- any such other records as may be determined from time to time by formal resolution of the governing body.
The records of the governing body shall be kept in a secure place provided at the school and shall be available for inspection by the public, members of the governing body, parents of pupils at the school and the Local Authority. Confidential items and confidential minutes shall not be made available for public inspection.
16. Register of business interests
Every governor shall complete the register of business interests within one month of their election/appointment as a governor. Entries in the register shall be updated as and when necessary and in any event annually. In the event of any governor having no registerable business interests then a NIL return shall be recorded for that governor(s).
All Members of the governing body shall abide by the agreed code of conduct.
18. Declarations of interest
If any member of the governing body has any interest, whether pecuniary or otherwise, in any item on the agenda for any meeting at which they are present, they shall declare such interest prior to the consideration of that item and shall immediately leave the room and take no part in the consideration of or voting on that item.
19. Urgent action by the chair/vice-chair of the governing body
Where it is not reasonably practical to hold a meeting of the governing body (or of the relevant committee that has the delegated authority to deal with any matter) or where the relevant 7 days notice of the meeting cannot be given and there will be a delay that would be seriously harmful to the school or to any pupil or member of staff if the matter is not dealt with then the chair (or in his absence the vice-chair) shall have authority to take such action as is deemed appropriate in the circumstances to deal with the matter. Such action must be reported to the next available meeting of the governing body or committee.
20. Financial and other guidance
The governing body and any committee(s) established by it shall, at all times, abide by the North Yorkshire County Council Financial Standing Orders and any directions that may be issued by the Children and Young People’s Service (LA) under The Code of Practice on Local Education Authority – School Relations, Ref.: Def. 0027/2001 and any subsequent amendment thereto. The governing body shall also have regard to and take account of any advice or guidance that may be issued by the LA from time to time.
21. Variation and revocation of standing orders
Any motion to add to, vary or revoke these standing orders unless appearing in full on the agenda for the meeting shall when proposed and seconded stand adjourned without discussion to the next ordinary meeting of the governing body. Any decision to add to, vary or revoke standing orders shall take effect when specified in the resolution or immediately in default of a time and date being specified.
22. Interpretation of standing orders
The ruling of the chair as to the construction or application of any of these standing orders, or as to any proceedings of the governing body, shall be final and shall not be challenged at any meeting of the governing body or committee.
23. Associate members
Any reference in these standing orders to a governor shall, where the context so admits, include associate members.
If you have any queries about information in this document please contact Governor Support Services:
Tel: 01609 532936