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Governor Rights

Discussion in 'Governors' started by cornflake, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Please can an expert clarify:
    Does ANY governor have the right to see confidential staff or pupil records?
    I am surprised by this assertion...
  2. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I would have said no, just as any staff member does not have that right. Certain things will be covered by law, such as child protection, safeguarding etc.

    I am sure that governors can, for certain purposes, view confidential files. Your question is a little imprecise. However, governors are not (or should not) be involved in day to day running of the school, so I don't believe they can ad hoc view files and nor would they have the right to ask. However, of a head teacher brings a matter of employment or a pupil related decision such as exclusion to the governors then I don't see why they would not have sight of the files.

    What do you consider confidential? Quite often people regard personal as confidential, but there is a difference.
    Lattelady and TheNorthC like this.
  3. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    I can't go into too much detail ...
    but I mean in a more general sense rather than a specific case e.g. exclusion.
    Do Governors have the right to view Occupational Health reports for example? To view detailed pupil records which might contain information about family circumstances?
    I think the answer to both of those is no.
    But a governor is disagreeing.
  4. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Governors don't have any rights.
  5. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

  6. Admin Princess

    Admin Princess Occasional commenter

    I think I would ask that governor to direct me to the evidence to support his/her point of view!
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Well, I'm a NationalLeader of Governance if that's what you mean by an expert....

    Individual governors do not have rights to see or do anything much. The governing body, as a corporate body, has the rights though, and it can delegate that 'right' to individuals and committees (which must be by formal, minuted, delegations).

    Governors authorised by the governing body (or by statute law) to carry out legal function of the governing body have the right to see any file they need to carry out that function. e.g. governors considering an exclusion are entitled to see (indeed, required to see) the pupil's SEN records and reviews. SEND CoP specifically says that governing bodies are entitled to see SEN records to enable them to carry out their statutory SEND functions.

    A governors' committee exercising its employer functions can - and should - see all relevant files. OH records included.

    Another example, under STPCD it is the governing body who have the statutory duty to review teachers' pay taking into account their PM outcomes. Not the head (although in practice frequently delegated to the head). Governors would have to see teachers' PM outcomes to do this.

    But neither the governing body nor any individual governor has the right to see any file containing personal information on staff or pupils out of mere curiosity. It would breach the principles of GDPR.

    So it's not really a question of 'what files can governors see' but 'for what purpose do governors need to see them'. Ultimately there is no file that governors cannot require you to give to them if they need it carry out a statutory function of the governing body.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

  9. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Thank you Rott Weiler - really helpful and confirmed my thinking. I'll go back to this particular governor.
    Worrying really, as they are also a HT (in another school)...
  10. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Then they are confusing their HT role with a governor role.
    Marshall likes this.
  11. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    Everything we get is anonymized but often at a level where if you know the kids and staff as well as some more involved governors do you can tell who is being referred to. Have had a few wry smiles spotting my own children mentioned in various reports and data breakdowns that way (I'm one of those pesky parent governors). If there's a child who can manage to progress in the most awkward and unconventional fashion going it'll be mine (sorry - they get it from their father I swear)!
  12. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    It's all a minefield really.
    digoryvenn likes this.
  13. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Hopefully now sorted! Thank you everyone for your advice and support.
    digoryvenn likes this.
  14. KentishMaid2

    KentishMaid2 New commenter

    Absolutely not
    As chair the only time I see Children's names is on the 1/2 day exclusion forms forwarded to me ; Ive asked for the names to be redacted but the headteacher said that it wasn't necessary (Im afraid the head tends to be very contrary just for the sake of it as SATS results approach).
    Governors should also make it clear that the Headteachers perfomance review and targets are confidential and shared only with the members of the HT Performance Committee ( which means you need very competent governors on this committee) If a governor wants to know the targets then they should serve on the Committee and commit to confidentiality.

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