Why are the minutes important? Governors require evidence of their discussions and decisions which can demonstrate to stakeholders and OFSTED evidence of leadership and good governance to support the school self evaluation for the judgements made. Minutes might also have to be produced in a court of law if the Governing Body were to be challenged on any decisions.
See below for examples of Local Authority template minutes from around the country.
Minutes Review – Do your minutes stand the test?
Fulfilling these functions in one document is a demanding task, and places an important and responsible role particularly on the clerk but also the Governing Body. Check if you can answer Yes to the following questions:
- Do your minutes include the name of the School?
- The title of the meeting?
- The date of the meeting?
- Names of those attending – and identifying who were governors, associate members, the clerk or others in attendance?
- Are apologies together with any acceptance (or non acceptance) by the Governing Body recorded and absences without apologies recorded?
- Is timed attendance noted (if someone arrives late or leaves early)?
- Appointment of clerk, chair or vice chair
- Membership items, notice of vacancies, new members
- Annual review of committee structure and delegation (Terms Of Reference)
- Any variations to the Instrument of Government ( NB If this is to be changed in any way, from September 2012, the GB will have to be reconstituted under the new regulations.)
- Governors given opportunity to declare any personal interest
Evidence of good governance
- Governors are made aware of the progress made by different groups/key stages/curriculum areas of within the school?
- Evidence of governors’ strategic role and understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Evidence of governors monitoring and evaluation and challenge of the senior leadership team (in a positive and constructive manner)?
- Governors’ acknowledgment of success of the school, staff and pupils?
- Governing bodies or committee involvement in formulating, promoting, monitoring and evaluating policies?
- Reports are presented to the governing body by both governors and the senior leadership team?
- Discussions and monitoring of the budget referenced to the strategic planning priorities?
- Are acronyms given in full when used for the first time?
- Are the minutes clear, written in plain English, unambiguous and easy to follow?
- Are any decisions clearly identified?
- Are the actions points clearly identified?
- Are actions clearly assigned to individuals/groups and timescale recorded?
- Could a reader not on the governing body understand the business of the meeting?
- Can items be tracked from the agenda to the minutes and from meeting to meeting?
- Would the minutes stand up to scrutiny in a court of law?
- Does the choice of font type, size and general formatting help governors access the information quickly?
- Has consideration been given to decide on items of confidentiality?
- Is the signature of the chair and date included at the end and all loose leaved pages initialled?
- Are pages numbered (1 of 3, 2 of 3 etc)?
Based on part of A Guide to Writing Governing Body minutes (Kent CC) 2010
Examples of template minutes from around the country:
- Bracknell Forest (website not linked anymore …)
Word document:Template for GB minutes – Bracknell Forest
- Manchester (website)
Word document:Template for GB minutes – Manchester CC
- Ealing (website)
Word document:Template for GB minutes – Ealing
- Essex (website)
Word document:Template for GB minutes – Essex
- Kent (website)
Word document:Template for GB minutes – Kent