Vacancies: A vacancy for a Parent Governor will become available from 19th January. Please see the letter below for more information.
Guidelines for the election of parent governors
Hampshire County Council is the appropriate authority with regard to the election arrangements for parent governors in Community, Community Special and Voluntary Controlled schools.
In these schools, the County Council has delegated to the headteacher the responsibility for ensuring that an election takes place to fill any parent governor vacancy. Elections must be conducted in accordance with the following guidelines and Schedule 1 (paragraphs 1-7) of The School Governance (Constitution) Regulations 2012 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1034/schedule/1/made.
In Voluntary Aided, Foundation and Foundation Special schools, the appropriate authority is the governing body. The governing body will need to abide by the regulations and may also wish to take account of these guidelines.
The definition of parent under education law covers:
The school will need to decide who comes within the definition of parent in respect of a particular pupil but generally parents include all those with day to day responsibility for a child.
A summary of the disqualification criteria that apply to school governors are listed in The constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools statutory guidance, in section C, pages 20 -22.
As soon as a resignation is received from a parent governor, or at the beginning of the term in which a parent governor's term of office expires, the headteacher should send a letter to parents inviting applications for the post.
An example letter is included in Appendix A which covers the standard information that should be sent to all those eligible to be a parent governor. It should be personalised as you see fit to attract the right candidates for your school, including listing any skills, experience or attributes the governing body has identified that it feels would help to strengthen governance within the school.
A copy of these notes should be displayed on the school’s website and drawn to the attention of parents in the letter.
Where pupils have more than one person with parental responsibility who are living at different addresses, a letter should be sent to each address.
Where a vacancy arises at short notice, the letter should be sent as soon as possible. Where this situation arises near the end of the summer term, this process may be delayed until the beginning of the next term.
It is important that all those interested in standing as governors must be asked to complete the Hampshire County Council School Governor application form. You will need to ensure that all potential candidates are aware of the current disqualification criteria. Space should be provided on the form for candidates to supply their reasons for applying and the experience and personal skills they can bring to the role so that this information can be used to form their election statement, to go out with the ballot paper, if this part of the process is required.
The closing date for applications should be ten school working days from the date on which letters are distributed. The actual closing date and time should be clearly stated in the letter so that parents are aware of the timescale to submit their application form.
If the number of applications is equal to, or less than the number of vacancies to be filled, a ballot need not be held. The applicant(s) is automatically elected. The headteacher should notify the successful candidate(s), as soon as possible after the closing date. S/he should then complete the relevant section on the School Governor application form(s) to confirm that the candidate(s) has been elected and that their identity has been checked before passing it to the clerk to update their records and the Governor Services’ membership database.
If there are more applications than there are vacancies, the headteacher will have to arrange for a secret ballot to be held.
The ballot box should be opened on the next school working day after the closing date for the return of ballot papers, as notified to the candidates.
The count will be conducted by the headteacher, or his/her nominee. If there is a tie in the numbers of votes cast, the first step should be to recount the votes. If the votes are still equal for two or more candidates then the headteacher, or his/her nominee, should arrange for them to draw lots.
The headteacher should notify the result to any candidate not at the count as soon as possible after it has taken place, thanking unsuccessful candidates for their interest and encouraging them to consider taking up a governorship at another school (Appendix D).
S/he should then complete the relevant section on the School Governor application form to confirm that the candidate has been elected and that the identity check has been completed before passing it to the clerk to update their records and the Governor Services’ membership database.
Parents and governors should be notified of the result within ten school working days.
The successful candidate(s) will take up post on the day after the present parent governor’s term of office comes to an end. Where the post is already vacant the start date is the date of the count or the day after the closing date for applications when an election has not been necessary.
If after seeking applications from parents of current pupils at the school, vacancies for parent governors still remain, the governing body can appoint people to the posts in line with paragraphs 10 and 11 of Schedule 1 of The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012/1034, which can be accessed at: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/1034/schedule/1/made. Governing bodies may only appoint as a parent governor a parent who has, in their opinion, the skills to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school.
All potential appointed parent governors must be asked to complete an application form so that they are aware of the current disqualification criteria. Applications should be considered at a full governing body meeting as a separate agenda item. The clerk should then complete the relevant section on the School Governor application form to confirm that the candidate has been appointed and that their identity has been checked before updating their records and the Governor Services’ membership database. Their start date will be the date of the meeting at which the appointment was made.
If there are still parent vacancies after the governing body has considered any candidates for appointment, another approach will need to be made to parents. In this situation a personal letter from the chair with positive comments from current parent governors has proved successful for many governing bodies. Governors should also exploit other opportunities where parents will be in the school (Parents’ evenings, new intake events, etc.) to encourage them to join the governing body.