Reconstitution

Maintained school governing boards can choose to reconstitute in order to ensure that their structure supports strategic governance.  The Department for Education states that governing boards should have the range of skills necessary to fulfil the core roles and should be no bigger than they need to be.

Standalone maintained school

The board must have a minimum of 7 members, with no upper limit, which will comprise of the following:

  • The headteacher (if they choose to be a governor)
  • One elected staff governor (from across the teaching and non-teaching staff)
  • A minimum of two elected parent governors
  • One Local Authority governor
  • Co-opted Governors (optional as required)
  • Foundation Governors (VA, VC and Foundation schools only)

The total number of co-opted governors who are also eligible to be elected or appointed as staff governors (when counted with the staff governor and the headteacher/s) must not exceed one third of the total membership of the board.

Federations with two or more maintained schools

The board must have a minimum of 7 members, with no upper limit, all federations must include:

  • Two (and only two) elected parent governors from across the schools.  Additional parents could be co-opted onto the board, or fill foundation positions, if available, based on the skills they bring
  • The headteacher of each federated school (or the executive headteacher of the federation, if there is one) unless the headteacher resigns as a governor
  • One elected staff governor
  • One Local Authority governor
  • Co-opted governors (optional, as required)
  • Foundation Governors (VA, VC and Foundation schools only) 

The total number of co-opted governors who are also eligible to be elected or appointed as staff governors (when counted with the staff governor and the headteacher/s) must not exceed one third of the total membership of the board of the federation.

If your board is considering reconstituting please see the further resources available below, or contact the Governance Consultancy Team.  Church schools should also consult the Diocese on any proposed changes.  As with any changes to constitution the matter must be discussed at a full governing board meeting where notice has been given. Governing boards may have difficult decisions to make, especially if they are reducing the size of the board and have surplus governors; however the prime directive from the DfE is that the governing board has members with the necessary skills for effective governance.

Once your board has decided upon their constitution please complete both the Model Instrument of Government, which shows the number of each category of governor the board wishes to have and the Reconstitution Pro-forma, which indicates who will fill the positions and identify any vacancies.  The Governance Consultancy Team will check your proposed new constitution to ensure it is appropriate and meets legal requirements. 

Reconstitution in a Federation

Existing federations

If an existing board is reconstituting in order to become smaller, or larger, the current governors will continue with their term of office.  Any new governors, or individuals moving to a different category will start a new term of office and will need to complete a new Declaration of Eligibility form.

New federations

If a governing board is being established for a new federation the existing governing boards in each of the separate schools will cease to exist on the date of the federation.  All governors who are moving to, or joining, the federated governing board will start a new term of office and will need to complete a Declaration of Eligibility and the Register of Business Interests.  The chair and vice-chair will need to be elected at the first meeting of the federated board. 

The Regulations require the board of all federations to have at least seven members, including:

  • Two parent governors in respect of the schools in the federation (they can come from any of the schools, or all from the same school, but any vacancies must be publicised across all the schools in the federation)
  • The headteacher of each federated school (or the executive headteacher of the federation, if there is one) unless they resign as a governor
  • One elected staff governor (teaching or non-teaching, the staff governor can come from any of the schools, but any vacancies must be publicised across all the schools in the federation)
  • One local authority governor – nominated by the LA and appointed by the board
  • In addition, federations comprising foundation and voluntary schools are required to have foundation governors
  • The board may also appoint as many co-opted governors as they consider necessary, but in doing so, it must take into account the additional requirement for federations comprising foundation and voluntary schools where there may be a requirement to have a majority of foundation governors.

The total number of co-opted governors who are also eligible to be elected or appointed as staff governors (when counted with the staff governor and the headteacher/s) must not exceed one third of the total membership of the board of the federation.

It is possible that each school within a federation will have its own headteacher. In these circumstances, each headteacher will be entitled to a place on the board. To be a headteacher the person must be being paid at the appropriate pay scale and be performing the duties in the school, which the board has conferred upon the headteacher through the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document. Alternatively, the federation may have a single executive headteacher that sits on the board.

The reconstitution process provides an opportunity to reflect if the structure still meets your needs, or if the governing board should consider reducing, or growing, in size. The Department for Education states that governing boards should have the range of skills necessary to fulfil the core roles and should be no bigger than they need to be.

Timelines

TIMELINES:

Please allow sufficient time, excluding school holiday dates, for your paperwork to be processed and the new instrument of government prepared. You are welcome to reconstitute at any time, allowing a minimum of three weeks, excluding school holiday dates, between submitting your paperwork and the proposed date of the reconstitution.  Church schools will need to consult with the Diocese on their proposed new constitution.

It is best to aim for a reconstitution date which coincides with a full board meeting, so that co-options can take place at that meeting and the chair or vice-chair elected if their category has been displaced through the reconstitution process.

If there are appropriate vacancies on the reconstituted governing board you may wish to appoint ‘surplus’ governors into another category, based on the skills they will bring to the board, alternatively the board could consider appointing these individuals as associate members.  Further information about the different categories of governor and on associate members can be found on the recruitment pages of this website.

Individuals who have moved category will start a new term of office and will need to complete a new Declaration of Eligibility.

Once your board has decided upon their constitution please complete the Reconstitution Pro-forma, available to download below, which indicates who will fill the positions in your new constitution and identify any vacancies.  The Governance Consultancy Team will check your proposed new constitution to ensure it is appropriate and meets legal requirements. 

Please see the helpsheet, available to download below, for a guide to the step by step process.

Resources

Help sheet - reconstitution process

Reconstitution proforma - federation of schools

Reconstitution proforma - single school

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