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Is this normal election procedure?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by parentgovernorwich, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. I am new to these forums, so if this topic is covered
    elsewhere, please do point me in the right direction.
    In November 2011, our primary school held a parent
    governor election. At the time there
    were 8 candidates going for 4 posts so parents each got 4 votes on the ballot
    paper. During the period of the
    election, a fifth parent governor resigned.
    When the ballot papers were counted the top five candidates were
    appointed to the 5 vacancies. (I am pleased
    to say I was one of the successful five, and none of the 8 candidates had any
    objection to the result).
    Move forward to mid-January 2012. Another parent governor has just
    resigned. Without any reference to the
    governing body as a whole, it has been announced that the person who came sixth
    in the November election has been appointed to the post.
    Do people think this is normal and/or acceptable practise?
    To me it seems weird to appoint somebody to a post based
    on the result of an election that happened two months before the vacancy
    existed!
    To further muddy the waters, the sixth placed candidate
    was at the time a serving parent governor seeking re-election after 4 years. (The other two were not). By re-appointing in what seems quite a
    dubious manner it would not seem unreasonable for people to claim that this is
    cronyism rather then democracy?
    Many thanks in advance for you views and advice on this.
     
  2. I am new to these forums, so if this topic is covered
    elsewhere, please do point me in the right direction.
    In November 2011, our primary school held a parent
    governor election. At the time there
    were 8 candidates going for 4 posts so parents each got 4 votes on the ballot
    paper. During the period of the
    election, a fifth parent governor resigned.
    When the ballot papers were counted the top five candidates were
    appointed to the 5 vacancies. (I am pleased
    to say I was one of the successful five, and none of the 8 candidates had any
    objection to the result).
    Move forward to mid-January 2012. Another parent governor has just
    resigned. Without any reference to the
    governing body as a whole, it has been announced that the person who came sixth
    in the November election has been appointed to the post.
    Do people think this is normal and/or acceptable practise?
    To me it seems weird to appoint somebody to a post based
    on the result of an election that happened two months before the vacancy
    existed!
    To further muddy the waters, the sixth placed candidate
    was at the time a serving parent governor seeking re-election after 4 years. (The other two were not). By re-appointing in what seems quite a
    dubious manner it would not seem unreasonable for people to claim that this is
    cronyism rather then democracy?
    Many thanks in advance for you views and advice on this.
     
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    I don't think it's normal or acceptable. Whether their motive was cronyism or whether the GB was just shortcutting the procedure to avoid having the (to them) hassle of organising another election so soon after the last one is impossible for anyone here to say.
    What category of school are you? If you are Community/VC the Local Authority is responsible for the conduct of PG elections, but almost invariably they delegate it to the HT to run on their behalf. If a VA/Foundation school the GB is responsible for PG elections. (And if you are an Academy it's a whole other story.)
    In Community/VC schools there are normally a set of detailed rules and procedures for the election of PG which the LA instructs the HT to follow. Ask LA Governor Servcies for a copy. Any parent can complain about what has happened to the LA and the LA could order the election to be re-run. If you are a VA/Foundation school the GB will have its own procedures which you can get from the Clerk. They might even permit this!
     
  4. Than you for your reply. It's good to know it's not just me!
    Forgive my lack of knowledge about the terminology for my own school (!),
    but I assume we are a community school.
    We are definitely not VC, VA, Foundation or a Free School so I guess we must
    be a community school. We are a “standard
    LA funded primary school” called “xxxxx Primary School”.
    The November election had to be re-run because of mistakes made by the
    clerk/head/school, so it could well be that this is an attempt to save hassle /
    face rather than anything more Machiavellian. Not really the point though.
    You may not be surprised to hear that a lot of things don’t seem quite right
    at our school. E.g. On election I asked to
    see the last two years GB minutes so I could get up to speed with things, in my
    mind a very reasonable and straight forward request. Nearly two months later I have one set of
    minutes. With regard to the others, I am
    told they are “in a mess and being sorted out” or some, (which are less than a
    year old) are “missing and actively being sought”.
    I will speak to our head and LA governor services this week and see what has
    gone on. I’ll post back when I have an
    update.
    Thanks again for your help so far.
     
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    Look up your school here and it will tell you what category of school you are (under 'Type of Establishment')
    http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml;jsessionid=F5000C7403437CEA8FB2D5B6DF20D83D

    Beginning to sound like *** up not conspiracy! I predict you'll find many more messy things that are not quite right as you go on.....

    I recommend you do the 'governors induction for new governors' training (whatever they call it in your LA) if this is your first time as a governor. All LAs should be offering it.
     
  6. Thank you for the link - we're a community school.

    More than likely !

    Yes, I did the one day intro course and found it very instructive. I am trying to get on more courses as and when time permits.

    I have a heavy week with work starting tomorrow, but I have emailed our governor services and the head to see if I can get to the bottom of this !



     
  7. parentgovernorwich - I think you'd be better speaking to the clerk and Chair of governors about the minutes/accompanying papers (both of which are publicly availably documents, unless confidential), as they are the ones who have responsibility for ensuring they're produced; the Head of any school is, in effect, just another governor. In fact, they don't have to be a governor if they choose not to! Hope you don't uncover anything too hideous :)
     
  8. It wouldbe interesting to know who clerks your meetings. In a number of LAs schools can buy in the services of a fully trained governors clerk, which might help reduce the problems your GB seems to be having. Though how not being able to file minutes in chronological order is a bit beyond me.
     
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    It's the clerk's responsibility to file minutes properly and the clerk who is at fault if they don't - keeping the Minutes is one of a clerk's statuory functions under the Procedures Regulations - but the clerk is appointed by and accountable to the whole GB for carrying out their job properly. If the Chair became aware that the Minutes weren't filed but did nothing about it then yes the Chair is at fault, but the Chair isn't normally personally responsible for filing the Minutes or checking up that the clerk is doing it. The Chair, and the GB as a whole, is entitled to assume the clerk is filing the minutes properly unless they have some reason to believe otherwise.

    Re your formatting comment, sometimes this happens if you've written your posting first in eg Word and then copy and paste it into the TES Forum. Word formatting codes confuse the Forum! The way to avoid that when you paste text into this Forum is to use the icon 'Paste as Plain Text' in the menu bar [clipboard with a T on it] rather than using normal keyboard 'paste' shortcuts
     
  10. Ofsted inspectors would go mental if minutes of governors meetings were not available in a click of a finger!
     
  11. Agree wholeheartedly with the above!

    Parentgovernorwich - To reply to the comment you made about training/heavy week I wondered if you were aware of the e-learning courses available to governors? Many LA's have signed their governors up to the GEL website: http://www.elc-gel.org/home/
    Personally I find these courses pretty good - they have the same content as the taught courses and are actually quite good 'pre-reading' for a taught course or excellent if your only time available for training is when the kids have gone to bed & you've 10 mins to yourself.
    I also asked for back copies of minutes when I joined - thankfully my clerk was forthcoming but they were stored on her personal PC or as paper copies in massive files in the school building. If you're IT-minded you may want to offer your services in advising the clerk/school staff to archive minutes on school servers locally or at your county archive. We use a LA-customised form of SharePoint for our meetings - I find this has really helped us get in good shape for having everything accessible and securely stored but the initiative to use it that way was driven by me.
    If it's something you'd be prepared to get your hands dirty doing, then discuss with your CoG and make friends with the school office - I bet there's an existing internal system that governors could have a secure area of that you could start using to keep old minutes & documents.
     

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