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Whose responsibility is to close a school?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by ClerktoGovernors, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. Dear Clare
    My question is one I have posed to the DfE on their forum - apologies for duplicating it here, but I would appreciate some unmoderated input!
    Last winter, during the bad weather, when schools took the decision to close for a day or more, for practical, logistical and health and safety reasons, it was generally acccepted, I understand, that this decision was ultimately a Governing Body one, for which the Chair took a delegated "Chair's Action" on the Governing Body's behalf. Similarly, when boilers burst or classrooms are flooded, the Chair is the person who authorises the emergency closure of the school. Has this responsibility changed, do you know? Would schools be able to take the decision to close without this Chair's Action being required in future?
    The DfE guidance on 8th November suggests that this decision is now down to the headteacher.
    "Whilst the governing body of a maintained school has general responsibility
    for conduct of the school, the decision to open, partially open or close a
    school is an operational one and therefore falls to the head teacher"

    Does the NGA have a view on this?
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I not sure that this was generally accepted, will be interested to hear Clare's view. The two LAs where I am a governor both issued advice to schools saying it was the head's responsibility, primarily on health and safety grounds, but recommending as good practice consulting the chair of governors. A quick google of DfE site took me straight to this page which is the DfE's guidance on severe weather closure. It says same as their strike guidance, head is responsible for deciding whether to close:

  3. Thanks RW
    It looks like I will have to eat humble pie on this one! I was led to believe the decision to close was one for the GB, but it seems I was misinformed. Apologies to all, but at least the matter is clarified. I will be posting a retraction on the DfE site.

  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    CtoG, if it's helpful I suspect the legal justifcation behind the DfE's advice is The Education (School Government) (Terms of Reference) (England) Regulations 2000, which say:
    "The governing body shall exercise their functions with a view to fulfilling a largely strategic role in the running of the school"
    "The head teacher shall be responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school"

  5. Indicative of the wide malaise that seems to be on the increase whereby the governors think they have a mandate including day to day decisions of school leadership. They don't, no insult intended but the Head runs the place with the SMT/SLT the governors should be there to support them, not tread on their toes.Opening and closing are nothing to do with the GB, informing them is matter of manners and good practice and doesn't imply any role in that decsion-making process for them.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Is that really what you think governors role is sulla88bc or are you just being provocative?
  7. Personally I think he/she doesn't have a bulls notion about governance

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