Background

The Instrument of Government (IoG) is the document that records the name of the school and the constitution of its governing body. A model Instrument of Government can be found at annex B of the relevant version of the statutory guidance on the school governance constitution regulations. This can be adapted to suit individual circumstances. The governing body drafts the instrument and submits it to its local authority (LA). The LA must check if the draft instrument complies with statutory requirements, including the relevant guiding principles for the constitution of governing bodies. If the instrument complies, the LA will make the instrument. The governing body and LA can review and change the instrument at any time.

In voluntary-controlled, voluntary-aided and foundation schools, before the governing body submits the draft instrument to its LA it has to be approved by the foundation governors, any trustees and the appropriate religious body. For foundation special schools, the instrument should also record the name of the body that has the right to nominate a person for appointment as a community governor.

Roles and actions

Under the Education School Governance (Constitution)(England) Regulations 2003, governing bodies had until 31 August 2006 to reconstitute and therefore draw up a new instrument of government. It is possible that during the process of reconstitution, there will be more governors on the governing body than are recorded in the instrument of government. This is because governors who were serving up to September 1, 2003 are allowed to serve out their term of office even if they are no longer eligible to serve under the new Instrument of Government.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Is there any legislation or guidance on who is to approve the name of a school – should it be the governing body or the LA?

A: Responsibility for approving the name of a school falls to the governing body of the school rather than the LA. Section 20 of the Education Act 2002 stipulates that each school shall have an Instrument of Government (IoG) and that the name of the school shall be that which is described in the IoG. If the governing body wishes to change the name, it should contact the LA to amend the IoG. The Department should also be informed of any name change.

The law

The Department website contains an overview on the Education School Governance (Constitution)(England) Regulations 2003.