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Delegation's what you need

Governors have been advised to pass some duties on to heads. Karen Thornton reports

SCHOOL governors could delegate more of their responsibilities to heads to help reduce their workload, according to newly-proposed regulations.

But the Government's own guidance suggests that only nine out of a list of 75 key tasks could be dealt with in this way.

The draft regulations set out new "terms of reference" to avoid governors and heads from encroaching on each other's responsibilities.

They suggest that governors should take a strategic role, be open about their actions, and provide heads with support and constructive advice.

Heads must comply "with any reasonable direction of the governing body" and be responsible for the "internal organisation, management and control of the school".

Further guidance lists 75 key tasks for governors and heads indicating where legal responsibility lies. Where matters are at the discretion of governors, they can be delegated to heads.

It notes: "To minimise their workload, the governing body would choose (to delegate to the head) as many functions as possible. But they will need to take into account factors like the experience and the wishes of the head, the extent to which the head is supported by senior management and any skills or experience the governing body can offer."

Eight of the tasks identified are the sole responsibility of the head, inclding making payments from the budget, ensuring teaching standards, and excluding pupils for fixed periods.

A further nine could be delegated to the head by governors, such as monitoring monthly expenditure, drafting the curriculum plan and appointing specified staff.

Governors are left with 15 key tasks to carry out themselves, such as appointing or dismissing the head.

The remaining 43 tasks involve decisions made by governors with advice from the head. These range from suspending staff to ensuring that the national curriculum is taught to all pupils.

John Adams, chairman of the National Association of Governors and Managers, described the new regulations as "fairly unobjectionable and anodyne". He added: "Problems arise when legislation just refers to schools." Chris Gale, chair of the National Governors' Council, said: "I suspect the relationship between heads and governors can't be clarified. It's so different in every school. But the guidance does clarify what governors' roles and responsibilities are."

Consultations on the Education (School Government) (Terms of Reference) (England) Regulations 2000 close on June 9. Responses should be sent to Juliette Duah, Area 3N, School Admissions, Organisation and Governance Division, DFEE, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT. Copies of the regulations are available at http:www.dfee.gov.ukgovernorgovernor.htm

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