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LA governor's absence from meetings

Discussion in 'Governors' started by cherrytree, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. cherrytree

    cherrytree New commenter

    We have an LA governor who has attended one committee meeting in March this yearand not any full meetings since March 2013. I finally lost patience and drafted a letter for the clerk to send saying that regretfully we would have to say goodbye. The clerk has e-mailed me back saying that she has contacted the LA Governor Services who have said that as she is an LA governor and she attended this committee meeting she could contest our letter. I'm the Chair of Governors; we have a list of potential governors and I don't know where to go from here. If she wants to stay on what do we say to her?
  2. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    I believe that committee meetings don't count only full governing body meetings. There might be an argument as to whether in the FGB meetings that this LA Governor did not attend as to whether your GB accepted there apologies or not.

    I would certainly in your case feel it is right and proper that this governor should be notified of their disqualification from the GB. After all this individual is dead wood and all GB's need to fill their ranks with the best skilled individuals they can find which does nor include the skill of non attendance.

    Here is an example letter of disqualification - note the 'full governing meeting'.

  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    We queried this with DFE who told us that only attendance at full GB meetings counts when determining if someone is disqualified for non-attendance. Not sure if this is spelled out in any DFE publications but GovernorLine could confirm.

    Montiagh's point might be a more relevant issue though, did the governor send apologies which the GB accepted either expressly or by default? The 6 months non-attendance criteria for disqualification only starts from the first meeting where apologies weren't sent (or were sent but weren't accepted).

    Incidentally, the disqualification is automatic and the GB has no discretion in the matter. if you haven't attended you are no longer a governor. All that should happen then is that the Clerk writes to the governor and the appointing body and tells them so and invites the appointing body to nominate or appoint someone else. An LA governor disqualified for non-attendance cannot be immediately re-appointed by the LA to your school.

    I'm assuming you are an LA school, not an academy
  4. cherrytree

    cherrytree New commenter

    Thank you for your replies. It seems to get more complicated as the story unfolds. This LA governor is friendly with another governor. For at least the last two meetings this friend has looked round the table, noticed the LA governor's absence and quickly said " * sends her apologies " which have then been noted. About two months ago I got wise to this and got an addition to our standing orders that apologies had to be sent in person to the clerk. As probably I am the only person who has actually been watching this carrying on, I feel quite helpless. Where do I go now? I'm sorry to go on a out this on here, but we've got a list of about four people who want to join us and I'm getting so frustrated. You are much more helpful than our county's Governor Services, and yes we are an LA comprehensive school.
  5. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Of course they are. No surprises there.
  6. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Cherrytree as you have said you are the chair. It appears that you have sent an instruction to your clerk by way of a drafted letter to send onwards to the offending LA governor. It is not clear from your post but it sounds like your clerk (are they an LA clerk?) did not send and merely checked with governor services and halted your intention.

    RW is correct that non attendance at full meetings for six months or more is an automatic disqualification. Apologies and their acceptance or not have always been a moot point. I have always allowed the first apology to count as accepted and no further ones or effectively you could have a governor who never attended for four years because you kept (governors are generally very nice people) accepting apologies.

    Governorship is no longer tea and biscuits, Nash and Gove want Boards not Bodies and by connection a more business like approach to governing a school which invariably means taking tough decisions.

    Apologies should professionally be sent to the clerk and chair. I have some reservations about your clerk.

    I believe you have done the right thing for your school and your governing body and you should see it through as chair and not allow your clerk or LA to impede. Take the tough decision.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Unfortunately by receiving and minuting the apologies you have, in th words of the regulatiuons, 'given permission' for this governor to be absent so they are not disqualified for non-attendance. All you can do is wait and see what happens at the next full GB meeting. If apologies are sent you can refuse to accept them (or slighty more politely and correct, refuse to give permission for absence from the meeting. That sets the 6 month clock running.

    How long does the governors term of office have to run?

    The Chair could also write (with the GB's approval) and ask whether in view of the governors continued absence from the meeting she actually wishes to continue as a governor, pointing out the need for a full contribution from all members and the impact that poor attendnance at GB meetings could have on Ofsted's judgement of governance. May that will shame her into standing down voluntarily!

    Are you still constituted under the 2007 Constitution Regulations? In which case you will have to reconstitute under the 2012 Constitution Regulations. If you currently have more than one LA governor you will hve to reduce to one. The GB decides which one so you can vote off this non-attending governor.
  8. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    As RW says you will need to re-constitute to the 2012 Constitution Regulations prior to September 2015 and you could do it at your next meeting and if you have 3 LA governors you can reduce to one and offload two or offload one and if the other is any good keep them as a co-opted governor.
  9. Once you are reconstituted the GB has the power to reject an LA nominee and ask for a different person.

    You can even ask for specific skills.
  10. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Can you tell me where the Sept 2015 deadline has come from please, monti?
  11. we also have this problem
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide


    <h4 class="LegTitle">The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 para 2</h4>
  13. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Gove gave GB's an option to change their constitution in 2012 and when he found most of them didn't he decided to make them. That's the kind of chap he is.
  14. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Thanks Rott. I knew it was around but need to show it to someone who needs to see it in black and white ...
  15. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    That is spot on, monti and it seems not to have been very well publicised.
  16. cherrytree

    cherrytree New commenter

    It has taken me this long to reply due to my fury and dismay at the final outcome. After I sent the recommended letter to the absent governor I received a furious email in return. How dare I send such a letter without so much as an apology. As the election for Chair and Vice Chair was coming up the next week I decided to delay a reply as I thought it would make matters worse.

    At the full governors meeting, with the election coming after apologies etc, suddenly the absent governor's friend, jumped up and without any chance to tell him to stop launched into a letter he had written on the absent governor's behalf with an attack on my integrity, how unfair I had been to somebody who couldn't attend meetings due to her senior position in another branch of the County Council. Eventually the election was postponed and the meeting closed for 15 minutes whilst the deputy head went away to check whether I had got my facts right. Apparently the 2012 ruling on absences has been "archived".

    The clerk was sent away to find out from Governor Services the position. They told her that the absent governor could come back.

    The upshot was that finally the friend of the absent governor, himself a business man who is employed at an "arms length" branch of the County Council was voted as Chair. I wouldn't actually mind if I thought that all this had been fair. We now have someone who NEVER comes into school, has already asked the new Vice Chair if she would take meetings when he can't (this was in public, immediately after his election.)

    I believe in democracy, and respect the views of the governing body. I will continue to work to ensure that our governors increase their knowledge of the school and continue to visit and be supportive. I am sad though that with the power of persuasion someone who has done so little has this position.
  17. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    I am afraid your tale is something that happens too often in the jungle of school governance and says something about the quality of governance at this school. The power of persuading the 'herd of nodding donkeys' by autocratic individuals should have no place in school governance. So you might be having a part time chair!

    There are so many school governors who have the highest order of integrity and probity yet they battle against those that don't.

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