School effectiveness

Governing board committees

A governing board can delegate certain of its statutory functions to a committee subject to prescribed restrictions. However, each full governing board remains accountable for any decision including those relating to functions delegated to a committee.

Functions that cannot be delegated to a committee are those relating to the:

  • Constitution of the governing board (unless otherwise provided by the Constitution Regulations)
  • Appointment or removal of the chair and vice-chair
  • Suspension of governors
  • Delegation of functions
  • Establishment of committees.

The governing board must determine the membership and proceedings of any committee. The governing board must also review the establishment, terms of reference, constitution and membership of any committee annually, usually at the first meeting of the autumn term.

The membership of any committee may include associate members, provided that a majority of the members of the committee are governors.

Each committee must have a chair, which is either appointed by the governing board or elected by the committee.

When considering numbers of committees, the governing board might need to consider whether there are enough members of the governing board to serve on them without being overburdening.

Example terms of reference for committees can be found in Ealing's governor toolkit - section 22:

Governor toolkit

Clerking committees

The governing board must appoint a clerk to each committee.

The headteacher of the school cannot be appointed as clerk to a committee.

The governing board can appoint a governor to clerk one or more committees, if the clerk to the full governing board does not wish to clerk committee meetings.

If the clerk does not attend a committee meeting, the governors present at the meeting can appoint a member of the committee (but not the headteacher) to act as clerk for that meeting.

Minutes of committee meetings

Minutes must be drawn up by the clerk and signed by the chair after approval at the next meeting of the committee.

The committee must make available for inspection to any interested person a copy of the agenda, signed minutes and reports or papers considered at the meeting as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Information relating to a named person or any other matter that the committee considers confidential does not have to be made available for inspection.

Guidance on minutes, agendas and meetings can be found in Ealing's governor toolkit - several sections.

Governor toolkit

Please note the above does not apply to committees established by the governing board to deal with most staffing functions that affect individual staff or pupils.

The statutory committees that a governing board must set up as needed are staff dismissal; dismissal appeal and pupil discipline.

Voluntary-aided and foundation schools will also need to have a pupil admission committee.

Staff governors or any governor with a vested interest cannot sit on these committees.

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Last updated: 15 Mar 2017