If you’re a school governor or interested in school governance, chat about the issues facing governors. You can get your questions answered by Stephen Adamson of the NGA if you start a new topic with "Dear Stephen" in the subject.
I am a teacher governor and we are starting the process of selecting a new headteacher. Initially, it was voted by the governing body that I could sit on the selection panel albeit reluctantly. It was voiced by several governors that they were very opposed-they had never known it to happen etc and the LA advisor echoed their view. However, a vote was taken and the majority of governors agreed to let us stay with some giving the view that thety felt it was really important. At the time NPQH was an essential but a few days later it was changed to desirable-we had to make our views known via e mail whether we agreed to this and the response was that it should now only be desirable. This then allowed an internal candidate to apply. Closing date came and we were all given our packs to take home and read.Then early this week another email arrives
At the first meeting we had some discussion around the suitability of having staff governors on your Headteacher selection panel. At that time the NPQH was still an essential criteria. Now that is now only a desirable criterion an internal candidate has applied for the position. This means that the process has been altered somewhat. A decision needs to be made on how we take the process forward.
If the teacher governor stands to make a pecuniary advantage from the Deputy becoming Headteacher then they need to declare this and resign from the panel.
Irrespective of (a) Does the governing body now feel that the process has changed in ways that now they feel staff governors should not be members of the panel A decision needs to be made on how we take the process forward from now on.
Governors then voted by email and phone and although I'm told the vote was close it was decided not to let me be on the panel.
I just wanted to know if this is a usual occurence? I declared that I had no financial interest whatsoever. I would be professional enough to accept whatever decision was made. There was even talk that a teacher might seek to curry favour if they chose the successful candidate. Is the process not highly confidential before and after the event?
Anyway, I wanted to vent my anger and I am so disappointed not to not be part of a body that makes such a crucial decision about the future of our school.
drowninginpaper, as montiagh says the issue of whether staff governors can/should be on heads selection panels gets endlessly debated on various forums and opinions are usually fairly evenly divided between those who think it is 'wrong in principle' that staff governors should be involved in selecting the head, and those who feel the opposite. For what it is worth I'm in the latter camp and I think staff governors should be on a panel, not only for the principle that all categories of governor are equal but also because they bring good insights and skills to the process. We've always had SGs on the panel in GBs I've been on and very successfully; your LA must have it's head in the sand if it's really never heard of such a thing. It's common. However, what I or anyone else thinks is irrelevant in the end as if the GB majority view is no SGs that's a decision they are entiled to take. Incidentally taking a decison by phone and email isn't a legal method of voting so technically is invalid, but it's not worth you arguing that point with them. Presumably the SGs got a vote too?
What is often overlooked is that the Procedures Regulations expressly say that no staff governor has a pecuniary interest just because they are a staff member. As a matter of law you are not disbarred from being on the panel because you are a member of staff. The law is that you cannot be on the panel if you have a personal pecuniary interest that is greater than the generality of the staff, eg if appointing the internal candidate would open up a promotion vacancy you personally could apply for. This might happen if say you were an AHT and could move up to the DHT job if they were appointed HT, but it's not that common.
The arguments about there being an internal candidate often seem to take it as read that SGs will support the internal candiate but it's just as likely that they'll want to reject them! Anyhow whenever there's an internal candidate the panel will have prior knowledge of them and that's why you set up objective selection processes.
Bottom line thoiugh is there's nothing you can do about it. Sorry!
I wasn't aware that governors were now allowed to 'vote' via phone and e-mail. Should make other governor's meetings interesting ....
I imagine that if pushed the Chair would cite Procedures Regulation 14 (5) that says if there is any dispute about whether a governor has a conflict of interest it will be decided by a vote of the other governors, so technically it's probably correct that in a vote on whether staff governors had a conflcit of interest the SGs weren't allowed to vote. However it's also technically true that voting by phone/email isn't valid either! I still don't think its worth arguing about though and I don't think you can 'complain'. You've got nothing to complain about really. Posters here may not agree with the decision to exclude SGs from the headship selection panel but the decison wasn't 'wrong', it's a decison the GB can legitimaetly take irrespective of whether others think it is a good decision.
The way the voting was done wasn't 'illegal', it just doesn't comply with the procedure permitted in the regulations. It is invalid, not illegal. Breaching of the Procedures Regulations doesn't make you gility of criminal offence. The reason I say there is no point in complaining about the voting is a practical one, not a legal one. It's clear, from what OP has said, that the majority of the governors do not think Staff Governors would be on the panel, so what would be the point of somehow forcing them all to come together into the same room to vote on it properly? The outcome would be unlikely to be any different (Chair would make sure it was a 14(5) motion so SGs couldn't vote), SGs still wouldn't be on the panel, but now they've pi$$ed off the the rest of the GB for dragging them all out on what they'd see as a technicality. What is there to gain? And the position they've reached so far - no SGs on headship panel - is entirely legitimate, recommended by many LAs, even though I don't agree with it. OP would just be arguing about procedural compliance - never good grounds for making a major issue out of.
Voting by phone is hardly as outrageous as you imply montiagh. It's expressly permitted at Academy GBs, normal in commercial boards of directors, and has been permitted by DfE at LA schools under 'powers to innovate'. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was permitted at all schools when the DfE gets round to revising the Procedures Regulations
In my opinion montiagh your response lacks any sense of proportion to the issue involved and gives the impression to me of being shot through with anger about something that has happened to you somewhere else. If the idea that people might vote by phone strikes you as outrageous then of course you are entitled to feel that way, but I think most people would find that in these circumstances it is fairly low in the scale of the world's evils. drowninginpaper must make up her or his own mind how much of their life is worth devoting to righting wrongs in governing body voting procedures; personally I'd find a better way of improving the children's education. It isn't my opinion that prioritising what's important as a governor in this situation is tantamount to lacking personal integrity as your post implies.
Your statement that "No SG's on the panel (since they were on the panel in the first place) is illegitimate" is wrong. The GB can decide who is on a panel (a committee of the GB) and can change the membership of it any time. It is entirely legitimate for a GB to decide to change the members of the panel and not have SGs on it if that's what the majority want to do.
RW I think we are going around in circles here. Unless I have read the poster incorrectly then the poster was on the panel in the first place as an SG by virtue of the whole of that governing body deciding that they should be. Now parking the way in which the next round of voting was done, I would agree with you that a GB can change the composition of the panel at any time, which would not be a great idea as continuity of the team is paramount. That said yes they can change it and they being the operative word i.e. the whole of the governing body. It appears here that it was decided by whoever that the staff members would play no further part in the panel and they would not even be allowed to use their own votes in being part of the process in voting themselves off or indeed remaining on the panel. If this is accurate then it remains ultra vires and should be re-run. Process is process, regulations are regulations, legislation is what underpins all that we do. To suggest that my post lacks a sense of proportion is incorrect. Breaching regulations is a vitally important task for governors to challenge. It seems to me that your stance is well it doesn't matter too much if we break a rule here or there, who's watching? and in any case let's use the 'well there are much more important matters like the children' excuse'. That's a very slippery slope and who becomes the arbiter. You will no doubt be aware that in situations like this one where in my view a very serious breach of regulations has occured, someone (maybe even a candidate) may have a legal case against the school. Simple rule is avoid all breaches of the regulations at all times.
I understand that 'the only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing' however I suspect Burke's idea of evil wouldn't have included a breach of subparagraph 12 (2) of the School Governance (Procedures) (England) Regulations 2003, but I may well be wrong about that.
There is no right way to do wrong!
If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. – Thomas De Quincey 1785 — 1859
Given that a headteacher appointment is one of the most crucial a governing body will make this doesn't seem to be a particularly well-managed process.
The role of staff governor is frequently misunderstood and there are many misconceptions about what staff governors can and cannot do. As has already been referred to elsewhere in this thread, there are in fact very few functions of the governing body which staff governors are precluded from taking part in. The pecuniary interest section of the regulations apply to all governors, not staff governors in particular, and although the fact that they do work in the school means it is more likely to be an issue for them than other governors it should not be used to routinely prevent the involvement of staff governors in the decision making process. Staff governors can be extremely valuable members of selection panels for headteachers.
As has also been made clear in this forum, the procedures regulations state that all business of the governing body should be decided by a vote of the members present at the meeting - i.e. there is no provision for decisions to be made via email. I think you should certainly bring this fact to the attention of the clerk to the governors and the chair of the governors in separate correspondence. I would also suggest that you make the point at the next meeting of the governing body and have it minuted. The governing body does need as a matter of course to formally record in its minutes that the composition of the selection panel was amended and why. Opposite points of view have been expressed in this thread about whether you should insist on a governing body meeting to remake the decision officially. While not condoning the governing body making decisions out with the regulations - this potentially is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Under the Regulations the chair of governors can take ‘chair's action' for any function, even where this cannot normally be delegated to an individual, so presumably the chair could have made the decision to change the composition of the committee. That is not to say that I think chair's action should be used in this fashion, but it would have precluded the need to have another governing body meeting.
I'm a SG. I'm on the HT panel. Not enough govs were available for the training which was part of the criteria, or wanted to be on the panel. So, I'm there!
I've been disappointed by the role of the governors in the initial stages of this important process in that they have taken a casual approach from the wording of the ad to the preparation of the pack, and more recently by the lack of time, attention to detail and care shown by the majority of the panel members in relation to doing their homework and thinking of good questions for the interviews. Everyone has busy lives but if one is a govenor taking on this huge responsibility, it is vital to be committed to ensure the right person is appointed and you know what you're doing.
I was concerned about being on the panel to begin with but I wanted to do it. Governor services are supportive and so are the staff. Moreover I am relieved that I stuck out my neck over this as I have discovered just how little the governors know about my school, the people in it and how it runs! This would never happen in industry so why does it happen in education!
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