Coronavirus: school governors

Overview

We know that this will be a worrying time and you will be concerned about your role, income as well as supporting your pupils and wider school community. If you are an Edapt subscriber will we be able to support you throughout this crisis as well as when you eventually return to school.

We’re working round the clock to bring you the latest information and keeping you informed.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious and need to talk to someone you can contact Education Support for 1-1 support and advice.

Governors should use video conferencing

The Department for Education (DfE) has published an update for school governors during the Coronavirus crisis. It advises against governing bodies meeting in person, and to instead adopt alternative arrangements, for example, by using video or teleconferencing applications. These may include but are not limited to: Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Please remember that all parties will need to agree to these arrangements.

The chair or clerk/governance professional can contact governors directly to agree to alternative meeting arrangements during this lockdown period.

Governors need to be pragmatic in what they cover in meetings

The Department urges governing boards to be pragmatic in what they cover in meetings during this time, and to be proportionate in the decisions that they are planning to take. The DfE expects governors to focus on urgent, time-bound decisions. You are likely to want to defer non-urgent decisions/agenda items until future meetings.

Boards should prioritise providing support to their school leaders and staff where needed, to allow them to get on with operational matters. School leaders should stay in touch with the governing board in a proportionate way, including providing information on the welfare of staff and pupils, so that they can retain a strategic overview of the situation and the school.

The DfE recommends governing boards have in place contingency plans in case the chair and/or vice chair become unavailable, so that there is clarity about who will be the conduit of information for the board.

Guidance on holding virtual meetings

The National Governance Association (NGA) have produced useful COVID-19 information sheets for governing bodies, as well as additional guidance on business continuity and holding virtual meetings.

We have also published the following article which provides an overview of how governing bodies operate.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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