23rd June 2000 at 01:00
I AM still, as a head, confused on a some aspects of the new

clerking arrangements. Firstly, are school staff eligible to clerk non-statutory committees? Secondly, can they clerk full governing body meetings and statutory committees if they are not staff governors? If not, and we have to look for a complete outsider, surely as soon as they are appointed as clerks they become school employees and so disqualify themselves, which seems silly.

TO deal with the last point first, my interpretation is that clerks are appointed by the governing body and do not become school staff in the usual sense of the word. But it really doesn't arise, because you seem to have misunderstood the prohibitions.

There is no legal reason why a member of the school administrative staff should not act as clerk for any aspect of governors' work as long as they are not (in any capacity) members of the governing body.

If such a person, having been appointed to clerking duties, were to stand as a staff governor she or he would have to withdraw from clering full meetings and statutory committees, but could still clerk non-statutory committees. I agree that many schools will have difficulty finding suitable clerks for everything as a result of the new regulations but it is not as restrictive as you suggest. The head, perhaps I should add, cannot be clerk in any circumstances. I would make two points not involving legality. Firstly, remember the governing body decides who to appoint as clerk, not the head. Secondly, the governors must be careful that the staff member doing clerking is senior enough and confident enough to be genuinely independent.

DO you see any objection to leaving the annual report to parents to a small editorial group?

ON the contrary. The ideal is for the whole governing body to agree on a general plan, and for a small group, or individual, to programme the whole enterprise. However, it is essential that the final draft is accepted by the whole governing body. This last is a legal requirement. It is not good practice for the head to write the report.

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