Part I of the Handbook for School Governors in Wales sets out the respective roles of the headteacher and the governing body. It is important that everyone is familiar with the distinct roles so as not to overlap.
It is good practice for every governing body to sign up to the principles of conduct for governors so everyone knows right from the outset the parameters they need to follow. Many governing bodies have their own code to follow adapted either from Local Authority information or Governors Cymru Services. If your governing body doesn’t have one in place, it is certainly worth considering.
The issue of confidentiality is one that is often raised. Again, it is important that governors are aware of what is deemed to be confidential at each governing body meeting, as well as, at any committee meetings. The Chair should be clear before the start of a particular agenda item if it is deemed confidential. The clerk will then minute this item separately, usually as Part II of the minutes. It is unclear however from the case study, what is meant by ‘issues to be discussed in confidence.’
Usually, information about staff and pupils will be confidential, plus any other matter the governing body feels should be kept confidential. Information on what may not be included in governing body minutes can be found here.
There is a useful section on confidentiality in Part 2 of the Handbook for School Governors in Wales.
Governors will attend meetings and discuss the business matters of the day, often there is not enough time to perhaps discuss and talk about ideas, suggestions and share effective practices. This can be invaluable and can clear up any myths about governance too.
The importance of governors reviewing and discussing policies and procedures cannot be over emphasised. This way, governors become familiar with, and get to understand the processes that should be followed. If, for example, a complaint is raised by a parent or a staff grievance, and a governor has been approached to sort things directly, they will know what are the correct steps to follow and will not therefore, compromise their position as a governor. Governors Cymru Services has produced some top tips for governors to assist with their work.