The clerk has an important part to play in making sure the governing body's work is well organised. It is helpful if the clerk is able to offer information and advice to the governing body, particularly on matters involving the law and procedures to be followed at meetings. Governing bodies should consider what level of help they will need from their clerk when selecting him or her.
It remains the responsibility of the governing body to decide who should act as clerk to the governing body and as clerk to any committee. In some schools the role of clerk is traditionally undertaken by the school secretary, bursar, or other member of staff. In such cases, the individual concerned should be clear clerking the governing body is outside their normal reporting arrangements. There is no requirement that the clerk to the full governing body is also appointed as clerk to any or all committees.
A governor (but not the headteacher) may act as clerk for the purposes of a meeting if the clerk fails to attend. In that case, the governor acting as clerk may take part in discussions and vote. Clerks who are not governors are not able to vote at governing-body meetings.
Clerks are appointed by the governing body. Some local authorities (LAs) offer a clerking service to governing bodies if they pay a subscription. The governing body has the power to remove the clerk from office. Where the school does not have a delegated budget, the LA may remove the clerk and appoint a substitute but they must consult the governing body before doing so.
Section 4 of the governors’ guide to the law provides an outline of the role and appointment of clerks to the governing body and its committees.
The Department recognises the importance of the contribution of the clerk to effective governance and the resulting benefit in terms of school improvement. The National Training Programme for Clerks has been developed by Consortium 52, comprising LAs and diocesan authorities based in the north of England. The training for clerks builds on Clerking Matters, a report produced by Information for School and College Governors (ISCG) to evaluate the importance of clerks to school improvement. The main purpose of the training programme is to enable clerks to develop the competences necessary to provide the Level 2 Clerking Service, and for experienced clerks to refresh, consolidate and further develop their competences.
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