Governors aided to curb 'rogues'

14th September 2001 at 01:00
ROGUE governors could be reported to the Secretary of State if they do not abide by a new government code of behaviour.

The move does not go far enough for heads, who want disruptive individuals suspended or even ejected from governing bodies.

Governors will, however, be able to appeal to the Education Secretary if they transgress the code.

Governor organisations are anxious to know what the new behaviour code will include. The Department for Education and Skills has already floated one document to its Advisory Group on Governors, but this was considered "patronising" and overlong.

The DFES's consultation document on school governance, released with last week's education White Paper, also proposes introducing governing bodies for nursery schools and reducing the size of all school boards.

Schools would be allowed to decide the make-up of their governing bodies, however, subject to some guidelines (notably that at least a third of places are taken by parent governors), as part of a general policy of deregulating the legal framework surrounding governor practices and procedures.

Other proposals include allowing schools to group together under a single governing body to encourage them to work together, and allowing governors to decide whether they want to provide "after-hours" community services, such as childcare and health services.

Both headteacher and governor organisations agree that a single "rogue" governor can ruin working relationships, for example by not supporting majority decisions or by criticising the school outside the committee room.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said he would have gone further, by providing for troublesome individuals to be removed.

Local education authority and foundation governors can be removed by the people who appointed them, and a large majority of members can remove co-opted colleagues. The DFES, however, has resisted previous calls for a sacking power, on the grounds that parent, teacher and staff governors are elected.

Governors, pages 32-33 "The Way Forward - A Modernised Framework for School Governance", is at www.dfes.gov.ukconsultationsffsg or ring the DFES on 020 7925 56065594 for information. Consultations close on November 7

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