Governor Code of Conduct
Church of England
‘Life in all its fullness’
The Church of England Vision for Education ‘is deeply Christian, with the promise by Jesus of ‘life in all its fullness’ at its heart.’ It is for the common good of the whole human community and invites ‘collaboration, alliances and negotiation of differences.’ (CEEO, 2016, p2)
All of the above are likely to be experienced by individuals within governing bodies as they work together to fulfil their legal responsibilities. The Christian vision and ethos of a Church of England school infuses all aspects of school life, including the governing body.
This model Code of Conduct sets out the expectations and commitment required from all school governors and trustees in an academy in order for the board to carry out its work within the school and community. It is recommended all individuals serving on such boards agree to uphold this code as part of their role.
The Church of England Vision for Education is worked out theologically through four aspects.
It is useful to consider how each aspect relates to the role of governor.
2. Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
‘It is a matter of affirming what is of worth in the past and present, rejecting courageously things that we judge unwise, and working to transform those that are valuable but need improvement.’
(CEEO 2016, p9)
At the heart of the Bible is the pursuit of wisdom, a vital component of all governing bodies. Governing bodies will therefore strive for wisdom in using knowledge and skills to combine continuity and innovation appropriately. Decisions will involve ‘radical questioning, imaginative and daring exploration and…. a desire for wisdom.’ (Ibid) The Christian values of wisdom and service will be demonstrated by all as they seek ‘the common good.’
This will involve agreement to:
3. Hope and Aspiration
‘Hope in God’s future for the world, in God’s ongoing love and compassion for all people, and for the whole of creation, and in God’s promise of life in all its fullness are at the dedication to educating for hope and aspiration.’
(CEEO 2016, p10)
Each individual is to be encouraged to stretch themselves to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Looking to the life of Jesus we recognise how fallible and flawed humans are alongside the knowledge that through Him transformation for the better is possible. Trusting in Him inspires us to ‘perseverance, patience, gratitude, openness to surprises and celebration.’ (Ibid) In all decisions governors will strive to explicitly promote hope and aspiration for all members of the school and community without prejudice. Embodying the Christian values of endurance, hope and creativity will enable this to be achieved.
This will involve agreement to:
4. Community and Living Well Together
‘The conviction that we are created and sustained by God for living together in families and communities is at the heart of our dedication for educating for life together.’
(CEEO 2016, p11)
In Church of England schools, the flourishing of all is central to being an ‘hospitable community that seeks to embody an ethos of living well together.’(Ibid) Governing boards should seek to be a ‘hospitable space, allowing for healthy diverse debate, agreement and disagreement.’(Ibid) The result of such hospitality leads to deep, mutual understandings and peaceful, negotiated settlements. Therefore, governors should express views openly at meetings, but accept collective responsibility for all decisions made by the governing body or any individual
governor delegated to do so. Governing board members will consider carefully how decisions affect not only the school they represent but also the wider community and other schools. In working together as a community of governors the Christian values of thankfulness, trust, peace, forgiveness, friendship and koinonia will be actively promoted and demonstrated.
This will involve agreement to:
5. Dignity and Respect
Commitment to the dignity and ultimate worth of each person is central to the work of a governing board. Jesus paid special attention to ‘the disadvantaged, excluded, despised and feared.’ We are called to join with Him in demonstrating this. The dignity of all should be upheld by governors as they discuss matters of safeguarding, prevention of bullying, provision for children with special educational needs and/disabilities and also in relationships with each other. The Christian values of humility, compassion and justice will help us do this.
This will involve agreement to:
6. Breach of this Code of Conduct
If it is believed this code has been breached the matter will be raised with the chair of the governing board in the first instance to investigate. They will seek to resolve any issues or disputes constructively through encouraging forgiveness and reconciliation. If it is the chair who it is believed has breached this code, the vice chair will investigate. Any allegation of a breach of this code of conduct by any governor should be raised at a meeting of the governing board, and if agreed by a majority of governors, it should be recorded within the minutes. If this occurs it could lead to consideration of suspension or in some circumstances removal from the governing board. https://cofecarlisle.contentfiles.net/media/documents/document/2021/05/Policy_for_the_removal_of_Foundation_Governors_2021.pdf
Further advice or mediation support can be accessed from diocesan officers. Please contact the Education Team for Carlisle Diocese should this be required.
Director of Education (with authority to appoint Foundation Governors on behalf of the DBE)
Deputy Director of Education (personnel and legal queries)
Approved by the Carlisle Diocese Board of Education
Signed by the Chair of Board of Education: Revd Andrew Towner
Dated: 13th July 2021
This policy is to be next reviewed in: July 2023
Governor Roles and Governance
All Governors in line with our Code of Conduct, will share their own views and opinions with the Governing Body to allow judgements and final decisions to be made.
All conversations held by Governors, both formally, and informally, are confidential.
Formal decisions recorded within the minutes, and minutes of our meetings can be requested by a member of the public. All decisions will be recorded as being the decision of the Governing Body as a whole. It would be seen a breach in confidentially to disclose how any individual governor has voted. When reporting on any decisions, you should use the word “we” and not “they” even if you voted the other way, there needs to be ownership for the final decision from the board.
Any confidential agenda items, although referenced on the minutes, the minutes will not contain detail and the confidential item will be recorded and stored separately. Confidential Minutes will not be uploaded on to the website, and you will only receive an electronic copy if you were present during the conversation or meeting.
You are however, well within your rights to abstain from decision making, if you feel you can not support a decision, or if there was a valid conflict of interest, and if this was the case the minutes would record this. The Governing Body can also request this of an individual governor if they feel there is a conflict.
Parent Governors are elected on to the Governing Body as a parent representative, and not as a representative of the parents. As a parent, your personal views and perspective on a subject is important to us. We have other routes to communicate and obtain the views of the all the parents. If there is a widely recognised view then you could provide governors with this information but the discussion in a meeting should be based upon your views, although this would not necessarily be the way that you vote. You should also remain sensitive to any decisions that have been made until the minutes of the meeting have been finalised.
Staff Governors are elected on to the Governing Body as a staff representative, and not as a representative of the staff. As a member of staff, your personal views, experience, and perspective on a subject is important to us. In addition, governors need to ensure that they communicate with staff at all levels, and that the opinions and suggestions from all staff are considered equally. This would not be done through the staff governor. As with the parent governors, if there is a widely recognised view then you could provide governors with this information but the discussion in a meeting should be based upon your views, although this would not necessarily be the way that you vote. You should also remain sensitive to any decisions that have been made until the minutes of the meeting have been finalised.
Unlike other governors there will be some things that a staff governor is not able to do. A staff governor cannot hold the position of chair or vice chair but can chair a committee. All staff employed by the school must withdraw from any conversation concerning pay, or appraisal of another member of staff except for the headteacher. However, the headteacher must withdraw from any conversation regarding their pay.
The views, opinions, suggestions, and expertise of all governors is important to us. We all wear many different hats and bring different things to the table. We also need to be aware of the role that we hold on the governing body whether it be, Local Authority, parent, foundation, co-opted or staff.
It is important that all governors follow the Code of Conduct, and the policies that we approve.
Please ensure that you have read and understand the Complaints Policy, understand the difference between a concern and a complaint, and know the process for raising either. At a small school it can be difficult, as we know all of the staff, and a large number of parents. It is therefore, vital that as many of us as possible remain impartial, or remove ourselves from conversations that we think may escalate to a complaint. This will ensure that if an investigation needs to take place there are governors who are able to do this impartially, and that we can do this independently without having to seek support from the Cumberland Council Governor Support Team, or governors from other schools.
Appendix A: The Nolan Principles
The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes all those who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally, and all people appointed to work in the Civil Service, local government, the police, courts and probation services, non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), and in the health, education, social and care services. All public office-holders are both servants of the public and stewards of public resources. The principles also apply to all those in other sectors delivering public services.
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Holders of public office should be truthful.
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.
Appendix B: Declaration of Commitment
As a member of the governing board for Bridekirk Dovenby Church of England School, I will do my utmost to always work to the terms of the Code of Conduct to support the ethos and values of the school and for the good of the whole school community.