17th September 1999 at 01:00
For those who missed it in the holidays my answer of July 23 about eligibility to stand as, and vote for, the new staff governors was corrected by me in the issue of August 6.

I had interpreted the relevant rule as meaning that support staff were eligible to vote and stand only if they were employed or contracted to provide services directly by the school. I knew that at least one very large county authority had interpreted the words in this way and already given guidance and held elections on that basis.

The Department for Education and Employment, however, says that it had not intended to exclude agency-employed staff assigned to work in the school on a regular full or part-time basis, and that, while it was leaving it to local authorities to interpret the regulations sensibly in the light of their circumstances, they hoped that local rules would not be too exclusive. I was glad to have this guidance, which I now pass on.

I still fear personally, however, that to open the door so wide may at extremes enfranchise people with very little knowledge of the school or commitment to it.

I wouldn't want to exclude the local authority-employed school meals staff, but in private concerns tendering for catering and grounds maintenance, there is often a rapid turnover and sometimes no local recruitment. I hope I am wrong.

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