The new clerking SLA for 2016/17 has been sent to Chairs and Headteachers, and it will take effect from 1st April. With this in mind, the spring term might be a good time to review your governing body’s committee structure and whether it is working effectively.
You should have the following committees in place:
• Headteacher’s Performance Management – two or three governors. Usually the Chair and Vice-Chair will be on this committee, but any governor who is not a staff member can be on it.
• First/Second committee – all governors who are not staff members join these committees. This means there is a pool of governors available, if at any time a panel of three governors is needed to hear a parental complaint, exclusion, capability, disciplinary, grievance or reorganisation hearing (First committee) or an appeal to any such hearing (Second committee, with three different governors).
• Pay Review Appeal – three governors who are not staff members. The Headteacher will make recommendations on pay for staff to the pay committee (usually incorporated into the Resources committee), and once agreed, this panel is in place in case there are any appeals against the decisions taken in committee.
Whilst any school should have the number of governing body and committee meetings that are necessary, typically most schools have one governing body and two committee meetings a term. In this structure, there would be a committee for Curriculum & Standards or Curriculum & Achievement (which considers the curriculum, teaching and learning, and attainment and progress), and one for Resources (which considers finance, the budget, premises, personnel and pay issues). Often these committees will take place on the same night, back-to-back, to reduce the number of evenings over the year that Headteachers and staff members have to stay late at the school. Where we already clerk committees for your school, it would also create more space in our diaries which helps to avoid meeting clashes, and allows us to offer more availability when setting future meeting dates.
We would ask schools whether this committee structure and meetings schedule would work for them, and if so to consider moving to this structure throughout the spring term ready for when the new SLA is applicable in the summer term. For some schools this might mean reducing the number of committees, or reducing the number of times your committees meet. This will allow us to continue serving the schools that presently buy in, whilst opening up capacity for us to clerk committee meetings at other schools.