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Should School Governors’ Meetings Be Open?

Should School Governors’ Meetings Be Open?

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closed school governors meeting

Every school’s board of governors does things a little differently.

A small minority hold meetings which are open to anyone who would like to attend, a few invite parents to get involved and some even welcome the press to report on proceedings.

The default position is, however, to conduct business (more or less) behind closed doors. As it stands, the guidance is:

Right to Attend Governing Body Meetings
Governors, associate members, the headteacher and the clerk have the right to attend governing body meetings.  In addition the governing body can allow any other person to attend their meetings.  Associate members may be excluded from any part of a meeting when the item of business concerns an individual pupil or member of staff. [Source: GovernorNet]

Certainly discussions on say the performance of individual teachers or pupils should be conducted in this way – and minutes of all meetings (this kind of sensitive info not withstanding) must currently be made available to ‘any interested party’.

But is this enough?

Open Governors’ Meetings = Open Government?

The ultimate decision about who may or may not attend, lies with the governing body. So should governors’ meetings be more open?

Indeed, a councillor from Monmouth council has suggested publicising meetings and letting parents submit questions in advance:

“We’re talking about open government. Parents would be able to see the process working.

“I think they should be open to the public and the public should be encouraged to go.”

What are your thoughts? Should governor’s meetings be open to the public? What does your school do?


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3 Comments
  • Chris
    Posted at 22:46h, 01 December Reply

    I think it’s a fab idea.

    However, ‘open to public’ should be amended to ‘open to parents of pupils in any given school’. This is important to avoid uneccessary disruption of proceedings. Public may have other interests that will conflict with the school interest and progress will stall.

    Also, certain number of parents will be invited on each meeting, until all parents have attended and made their contributions.

    Presently, we don’t have this system in place.

  • Who can attend a Governors’ meeting? | Clerk to Governors
    Posted at 12:24h, 07 January Reply

    […] Modern Governor: Should Governors’ meetings be open? […]

  • brian
    Posted at 17:40h, 13 January Reply

    My current specific experience is that parents can feel unable to raise difficult issues with a seemingly hostile Head and Governors.

    My local maintained school has serious safety and traffic issues (in and around the school) but refuses to engage with me, a common resident. School has refused to hold open meetings for residents despite a march 2008 commitment to do exactly this. How long ago is that?

    Parents and residents signed a 130 signature petition which has been ignored.

    brian NW11 6DT

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