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Removal of Governors

Fri 01 Sep 2017

New statutory guidance was published in August following the coming into force of The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017. The Regulations introduced a new power for governing bodies to remove elected parent and staff governors, bringing these posts into line with the rules for community and foundation governors.

The new guidance (The constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools August 2017) stresses the importance of governing bodies appointing governors who have the right skills and capacity to have a meaningful impact on the role of the governing body.

Whilst making the right appointment in the first place is essential, the guidance acknowledges that sometimes removal is necessary. For example when:

  • There have been repeated grounds for suspension.
  • There has been serious misconduct (which will be considered on a case by case basis but as a guide any breach of the Nolan principles will give rise to a legitimate complaint).
  • A governor displays repeated and serious incompetence (e.g. consistently fails to attend meetings and/or engage with training or address any skills gaps such that their ability to make a meaningful contribution is compromised).
  • A governor has engaged in conduct or behaviour which is aimed at undermining fundamental British values.
  • The actions of the governor are significantly detrimental to the effective operation of the governing body, distracting it from its core strategic functions and/or the actions of the governor interfere with the operational efficiency of the school thereby wasting a significant amount of headteacher and/or senior leadership time.

Removal is automatic when a governor is disqualified from being a governor, for example if he or she is declared bankrupt or removed from being a charity trustee, or has been removed from office as an elected governor within the last 5 years or is included in the list of people considered by the Secretary of State as being unsuitable to work with children and/or is barred from any regulated activity relating to children.

Whilst governors of schools in a multi academy trust are not subject to these regulations, decisions about removal are expected to be based on similar principles. The removal of trustees (directors of the trust) must be undertaken in the manner contemplated by the Companies Act 2006 and we recommend that advice is obtained before any steps are taken.

The guidance goes on to stress the importance of governors (and by implication trustees/directors of academy trusts) adhering to a code of conduct which expresses the procedure for removal. This may be contained in the Scheme of Delegation but could be found in an accompanying document. We can assist with the drafting and review of your Scheme of Delegation and Code of Conduct and we can provide governor training to complement any structured programme that you have put in place. For more details, contact our School Support Service team.

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