Each state school Governing Body has within its composition one or more places reserved for teacher governors.
The Unions have concluded, with the local authority, an agreement relating to the election of teacher governors in maintained schools. This document sets out the eligiblity of teachers to nominate and stand for the position of teacher governor and how such an election should be conducted.
This agreement, entitled "Electing Teacher Governors" (a copy follows), is contained within the Conditions of Service manual which should be available for examination and can't be altered by the school.
By and large teacher governors enjoy the same rights and have the same duties as other governors. The Articles and Instruments lay these down, and each governor must be given a copy, in addition to one of each being available for examination within the school.
The Articles of Government lay down the powers and duties of the Governing Body. They are by and large standard but some schools do have their own individual articles.
The Instruments of Government lay down the framework for the exercise of duties and powers set out in the articles. These along with the Authority's "Scheme for Local Management of Schools" and "School Governors: A Guide to the Law", published by the DfEE, are required reading for any governor and should be given to a teacher governor.
The rights of teacher governors are, in most cases, exactly the same as the rights of any other governor except that most instruments contain the following clause :-
"No governor who is employed at the school .......shall be eligible for appointment as Chairperson or Vice Chairperson of the Governing Body or as Chairperson of a meeting".
This is the only clause limiting the rights of teacher governors that does not apply to all governors.
The most common limitation of powers is contained within the declaration of an interest by a governor. This should appear as an agenda item very early in each meeting of the Governing Body or its Sub-Committees. The item is used to give all governors the opportunity to declare that they have the possibility of a financial interest.
All governors are required to declare such a pecuniary interest where they could benefit from a decision that the Governing Body took. Detailed advice is contained within the D.E.S. guidance.
Basically a teacher governor should declare an interest if any one or more of the following apply to him/her or a relative (or spouse/partner) living with him/her:-
Having declared an interest the teacher governor should leave the meeting for that item and should not take part in the discussion or vote.
There is nothing within the Education (school Government) Regulations 1999 that would preclude a teacher governor from being a member of a staffing/appointments committee providing that such appointments did not contravene the above.
The other declaration of interest that may apply to a teacher governor is when they or a relative etc. are either a partner in a business or run a business that may bid for a contract that is being discussed by the governing body.
The onus rests with a governor to declare an interest and not with any other person to seek to persuade a governor that they should have declared an interest.
Should any member governor have any doubt the union office would be pleased to advise.
Teacher governors are entitled to all information on the basis that any other governor receives such information. The requirement for secrecy only covers matters relating to contract specifications and privileged information regarding appointment, discipline or dismissal. The union would seek to support the rights of teacher governors to be fully responsible to their electoral constituency.
The Headteacher is the designated Returning Officer, though it is possible for a member of the teaching staff to take on that role for the teacher governor elections if the majority of staff eligible to vote agree.
The following arrangements remain unchanged since their agreement with teacher representatives on the OJC and original publication in 1986. They should be followed when electing teacher governors for the new governing bodies early in the Autumn Term and whenever there is a subsequent teacher governor vacancy.