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Friday, 17 November, 2000, 12:07 GMT
School governors face reduced powers
Jacqui Smith
Jacqui Smith wants to "streamline" the role of governors
School governors could have a reduced role in the day to day running of schools, under proposals put forward by the schools minister.

This could mean that the 370,000 governors currently in place will no longer take part in the interviewing and selection of teachers.

Launching a public consultation on the future role of school governors, Schools Minister Jacqui Smith has outlined suggestions which would see a "streamlining" of their responsibilities.


From what governors tell us we know they spend too much time on day to day matters like staffing

Jacqui Smith, Schools Minister

At present, governors work alongside head teachers in appointing staff - but the minister says that governing bodies might shift towards a more hands-off role.

This would mean spending more time on policies for raising standards and reducing bureaucracy, and less direct involvement in recruitment and the day to day running of schools.

But governors would still be involved in the appointment of a new head and deputy head teacher.

Failing schools

The government is also proposing that entire governing bodies of failing schools could be removed by the education department - a power already held by the local authority.

There are also suggestions for the reduction in size of governing bodies, with cuts likely to come from governors appointed by the local education authority.

There will also be a national helpline for governors, called Governorline, where they can get advice and information about their responsibilities.

Ms Smith is expected to tell the National Governors Council on Saturday that governors should consider limiting themselves to more "strategic" decisions.

"From what governors tell us we know they spend too much time on day to day matters like staffing issues. Governing bodies should take a strategic role in recruitment, agreeing pay and performance management policies, leadership pay ranges for senior staff and overall staffing budgets," says Ms Smith.

"We are also concerned that some governing bodies have become too involved in day to day management of school premises.

"We will look at giving the Secretary of State the power to replace an entire governing body in failing schools where it is necessary to help the school to recover and to ensure that decisive action is taken such as the replacement of senior staff," says the minister.

School governors have been described by the government as the largest volunteer workforce in the country, with unpaid representatives of parents, the local community, business and local authorities working alongside teachers in the management of schools.

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See also:

01 Jul 99 | UK Systems
Funding and management
20 Sep 00 | Education
Parents to speak up on schools
12 Nov 99 | Education
Training plan for school governors
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