Another of *those* consultations – proposed changes to the school governance constitution regulations

Sometimes I wonder if anyone from the DfE even bothers reading my blog. You’d think they’d know by now I don’t like *those* consultations. You know the ones I mean. They call them a consultation, but they don’t actually publish anything. Once again they’ve asked the members of AGoG, the Advisory Group on Governance, to talk to their members about changes to some school governance regulations. Why? They have a process for consultations. They have part of their website dedicated to it. Are school governance regulations not important enough to go through a full blown process? I’d much rather be consulted with directly Mr Gove. Really.

The proposals state: “In line with recent precedents, we are not conducting a full formal public consultation on these proposals”. That’s alright then. ‘We did it last time and you may not have liked it but we’ve set a precedent now!’ gah!

Anyway, what is it that the non-consultation is about this time? 

Well, having had my little rant I rather like most of what the targeted consultation with AGOG on changes to the School Governance Constitution (England) Regulations is proposing.

The proposals relate to the ‘new’ 2012 regulations, so may only affect governing bodies that have reconstituted since September 2012 (subject to proposal 4 below):

1. Removal of the ‘Last in First Out’ rule

At the moment if you go down, for example, from 3 Local Authority governors to 1 (the maximum in the new regs) then you keep the one with the longest continuous service. Who may or may not be the one who contributes the most. Removing that requirement seems like a great idea to me.

2. A Stronger Focus on Skills

The proposal is to define in law the core skills required in a governor. Now I’m not so keen on this. It seems to me that this is better to be determined locally, and would be another example of tight centralised prescription on maintained schools which doesn’t apply to academies, which feels uncomfortable.

But I do like question 4: “Do you think regulations should require that Foundation, Trust and Partnership governors have, in the opinion of the appointing body, the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school?”

YES. Local Authority governors already have to be appointed on the basis of their skills under the new regulations, but there’s no requirement that the same apply to foundation governors etc, and there should be (in my opinion of course!).

3. More Informed Parent and Staff Elections

This proposes that certain information should be published about a candidate when they stand to be elected as a parent or staff governor. I particularly love the proposal that this information must include: ‘The training and development opportunities they will commit to undertake to acquire or develop the skills to be an effective governor’. 

4. The 2007 Regulations

It is proposed that some or all of these principles are extended to cover the 2007 regulations – so that would include all the governing bodies in maintained schools. I’d prefer to see the 2007 regulations revoked, personally. It feels to me that that rigid model has had it’s day. But anyway…

I’m sure you’ll have your own views. Even if you haven’t been “targeted” it seems you’re allowed to submit them to the Department by emailing school.governance@education.gsi.gov.uk by 12 July 2013.

Have fun!

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