School governing body functions in the light of COVID-19

Advice from Welsh Government

Dear Colleagues

You will be well aware of the extraordinarily challenging circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment. We have received some queries about how school governing bodies should proceed over the coming months and this information is intended to provide some clarity for you. Please do share with your governing bodies as appropriate.

Termly governing body meetings
While ordinarily school governing bodies are obliged to meet at least once termly, we realise this may prove impractical and in some cases impossible as a result of coronavirus. There is nothing in the Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005 which prevents a governing body meeting ‘virtually’. The Regulations were drafted with the idea that GB members would be physically present. Nonetheless, they do not preclude members being virtually present. Where possible, video conferencing such as Skype is preferable, as you can see and hear the individual so as to ensure the governing body members present are those expected. Use of such technology is not uniform across governing bodies and so a judgement call would need to be made as to its practicality. Please be assured that if meetings are unable to proceed as a result of coronavirus, school governing bodies will not be penalised.

Records of governing body meetings
The Regulations currently state that paper records of meetings must be kept, but I don’t expect any governing bodies to be taken to task on this issue given the current circumstances.

Making decisions via email
Again, given the unprecedented circumstances, if making a decision by e-mail means that a governing body can more easily conduct its core functions, this is acceptable. Clerks must of course keep a record any such decisions and associated discussion and votes.

Non-urgent business
Please consider delaying any business that can wait. Your wellbeing is of paramount importance. As mentioned in the letter from the Minister, consideration is being given to which statutory requirements can be removed or relaxed as a result of coronavirus and we will keep you updated on this.

Thank you for your continued support as always, and please stay safe and well.


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