Code of Conduct for School Governing Boards
We reviewed and amended our Code of Conduct in July 2018 as follows:
As individuals on the board we agree to the following:
Role & Responsibilities:
- We understand the purpose of the board and the role of the Headteacher.
- We accept that we have no legal authority to act or communicate individually, except when the board has given us delegated authority to do so, and therefore we will only speak on behalf of the governing board when we have been specifically authorised to do so
- We are mindful that in all communication with school stakeholders (this includes face to face, email and social media including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, amongst others) – we are seen as representatives of the school.
- As governors, we agree to work as critical friends, both supporting and challenging the school. Unless there is a very good reason to do so, challenges should be made in the private setting of governors meeting. In public settings (which includes social media) governors should support the school if they feel the need to contribute to a discussion.
- Parent governors should be mindful that they are always seen by fellow parents as governors and therefore representing the school. This means that communication both face-to-face and on social media needs careful consideration. Likewise, school’s ethos and policies should be upheld and supported in public by all governors.
- We accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the board or its delegated agents. This means that we will not speak against majority decisions outside the governing board meeting.
- We have a duty to act fairly and without prejudice and in so far as we have responsibility for staff, we will fulfil all that is expected of a good employer.
- We will encourage open government and will act appropriately.
- We will consider carefully how our decisions may affect the community and other schools.
- We will always be mindful of our responsibility to maintain and develop the ethos and reputation of the school. Our actions within the school and in our personal lives will reflect this.
- In responding to criticism or complaints affecting the school or the governors we will follow the procedures established by the governing board, please see the complaints policy for the procedure in dealing with complaints. As per our values, we will seek to understand first, respect and forgive one another. We will also take into account the level of reputational risk to the school.
- We will actively support and challenge the Headteacher.
- We acknowledge that as a governor, the role includes the commitment of significant amounts of time and energy.
- We will each involve ourselves actively in the work of the governing board, and accept our fair share of responsibilities, including service on committees and working groups.
- We will make full efforts to attend all meetings and where we cannot attend, explain in advance why we are unable to.
- We will get to know the school well and respond to opportunities to involve ourselves in school activities.
- We will visit the school, with all visits to school arranged in advance with the staff and undertaken within the framework established by the governing board and agreed with the Headteacher.
- We will consider seriously our individual and collective needs for training and development and will undertake relevant training.
- We will strive to work as a team in which constructive working relationships are actively promoted.
- We will express views openly, courteously and respectfully in all our communications with other governors.
- We will support the chair, vice chair and each other in our mutual roles of ensuring appropriate conduct both publicly and privately.
- We are prepared to answer queries from other governors in relation to delegated functions and take into account any concerns expressed, and we will acknowledge the time, effort and skills that have been committed to the delegated function by those involved.
- We will seek to develop effective working relationships with the Headteacher, staff, church, parents, the local authority and other relevant agencies and the community.
Confidentiality & Communication:
- We will observe complete confidentiality on all issues both inside and outside school. For avoidance of doubt, all issues are deemed to be confidential and inappropriate to discuss with other stakeholders on an individual basis.
- We will exercise the greatest prudence at all times when discussions regarding school business arise outside a governing board meeting.
- We will not reveal the details of any governing board vote.
- We will ensure our online profile and communication reflects the ethos, Christian values and vision of the school.
- We will ensure all our communication is in line with this this policy, including social media, e.g.: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, to name a few.
Conflicts of interest:
- We will record any pecuniary or other business interest (including those related to people we are connected with) that we have in connection with the governing board’s business in the Register of Business Interests, and if any such conflicted matter arises in a meeting, we will offer to leave the meeting for the appropriate length of time.
- Our Register of Business Interests will be published on the school website.
- We will also declare any conflict of loyalty at the start of any meeting should the situation arise.
- Any governor failing to reveal information to enable the governing board to fulfil their responsibilities may be in breach of the code of conduct and as a result be bringing the governing board into disrepute.
- We will act in the best interests of the school as a whole and not as a representative of any group, even if elected to the governing body.
Breach of this code of conduct:
- If we believe this code has been breached, we will raise this issue with the chair and the chair will investigate objectively and appropriately seeking all perspectives. In all cases, disputes will first seek to be resolved informally and all parties are encouraged to seek face-to-face meeting in the first instance. In line with our ethos of forgiveness, the governing board will only use suspension/removal as a last resort after a thorough investigation has taken place, and the level of risk to the school reputation has been considered. In the case of conflict or disputes, we will always seek to resolve any difficulties or disputes firstly by encouraging face-to-face dialogue, unless any party has good reason to refuse.
- We have a right to encourage and recommend further support and help should we feel it is necessary and that may include pastoral support from the church clergy, counselling, advice from Barnet and other appropriate parties. If so, we will seek permission from all parties in the first instance.
- Should it be the chair that we believe has breached this code, another governor, such as the vice chair will investigate. If the vice chair is implicated, then another governor will be appointed to investigate.
A useful reference guide is the seven principles of public life, originally produced by The Nolan committee, which highlights best practice principles for public office roles, see below:
The Seven Principles of Public Life
(Originally published by the Nolan Committee: The Committee on Standards in Public Life was established by the then Prime Minister in October 1994, under the Chairmanship of Lord Nolan, to consider standards of conduct in various areas of public life, and to make recommendations).
Selflessness– Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Integrity– Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Objectivity– In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Accountability– Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Openness– Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Honesty– Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Leadership– Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
Adopted by the governing board of St John’s C.E. Primary School July 2018
For review: September 2019
Hard copy pdf available below with signature of Chair of Governors.
St John’s N20 Instrument of Government Jan 2017 – January 2017