What to expect at a School Governors’ meeting
Whilst there are many important aspects of the role of a School Governor, the most important is the business that takes place at the School Governors’ meeting.
Full Governing Body meetings are normally held once a term. It is most likely that your first meeting as a new School Governor will be a full Governing Body meeting.
Prior to your first meeting you will receive an agenda, along with copies of the Minutes of the previous meeting and any other relevant papers that are to be discussed at the meeting. It is recommended that you take time to read and familiarise yourself with these prior to the meeting and make notes of anything you are unsure of so you can ask questions at the meeting if necessary.
Your first meeting
At your first meeting it is quite normal to feel inexperienced and a little daunted. The meetings do follow a formal agenda, however, we would hope that the Governing Body will make you feel welcome and comfortable. If you already know someone on the Governing Body you may want to arrange to meet up with them prior to the first meeting. Alternatively the school’s induction arrangements may allocate a ‘buddy’ for you in the first few meetings who will help you.
At the beginning of the meeting, all Governors should introduce themselves. However, do not worry if you can’t remember everyone’s names straight away; this will take time.
The Chair of Governors
The Chair of Governors will conduct and lead the meeting and his/her role is to ensure that the agenda is followed and that the meeting is conducted in a proper manner. It would be normal for the Chair to introduce any new School Governors at the beginning of their first meeting
The Clerk [to the Governing Body]
The Clerk [to the Governing Body] carries out administrative duties associated with the meeting and will normally have extra copies of papers if you have mislaid any you were sent. The Clerk will take the Minutes of the meeting and ensure that these are passed to the Local Authority for circulation with a future agenda. In addition the Clerk will normally provide advice to the Governors on matters being discussed, where relevant.
Further information can be found on the:
The agenda lists the items that are to be discussed at the meeting. It will normally include the following:
Governing Body membership
This will identify any changes to the membership of the school’s Governing Body together with any appointments that need to be considered.
If you are unable to attend a Governing Body meeting, your apologies (which should include a reason) should be given either to the Headteacher or Chair of Governors, or via the Governors' Support Service. If a Governor does not attend a meeting for six months and does not submit their apologies (and have them accepted) they can be disqualified from the Governing Body.
Declarations of personal or business interests
Governors will be asked to declare any personal or business interests they may have in any item included on the agenda or raised at the meeting. The Governors’ Handbook gives specific guidance on when a person should withdraw from a discussion. If there is a disagreement about whether or not an individual should withdraw from a meeting, it is up to the Governing Body to decide.
These are a record of previous Governing Body meetings and will need to be agreed as a correct record of the meeting. It will include the Minutes of both full Governing Body meetings and of any Committee meetings.
Matters arising from the Minutes
This allows business referred to in the Minutes of previous meetings to be raised again. This is usually to allow any progress on the item to be reported.
Items to monitor
These are likely to include the Headteacher’s report as well as information about the school’s budget and academic performance.
Items for decision/discussion
These are items that have been put on the agenda by the Governing Body or the Local Authority that require the Governing Body to discuss and debate before reaching a decision. If the discussion highlights that there may be differences of opinion on the Governing Body then the decision will normally be made by asking School Governors to vote.
Date and time of next meeting
This item will either be to remind School Governors of dates that have been set or will ask the Governing Body to set a date for the meeting.