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We have always had the school's own finance officer as a co-opted member of the governing body; he was also chair of the finance committee. Is this still possible?

I assume that your finance officer did not resign in order to stand for election in the new staff governor category. Therefore, although he may finish his term of office, it will no longer be legal to co-opt him thereafter, when he will be able to become a full governor only by standing for election when there is a vacancy for a staff governor.

Under new regulations, you may co-opt him as a voting non-governor member of a committee, provided: his co-option is approved by a vote of the whole governing body; full governors are always in a majority when voting takes place; and it is made clear that he cannot be chair. Indeed, even at present he should not chair the finance committee because he is an employee of the school. That has been the rule for more than 10 years.

* On August 20, I answered a question on electing a chair, and mentioned that the Government was considering making this process more formal. I have since seen the new Governors' Regulations (SI 1999 No 2163), and they do provide for the chair and vice-chair to be elected in future by secret ballot. From April 2000, nominations for chair or vice-chair are to be made in advance of the meeting and included in the agenda. Failing that, nominations may still be sought at the meeting.

* Joan Sallis

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