Case Study 5

Rhyd y Bryn High School always displays the draft minutes of governing body minutes signed by the chair in the school foyer. Members of the governing body are concerned about this, particularly as they feel that the minutes have not been formally ratified by the full governing body.

Extract from the Handbook for School Governors in Wales
Meetings of the governing body of a school are considered to be ‘public’ meetings, insofar as the agenda, the approved minutes and any other document considered at a meeting must be made available at the school to anyone who wishes to inspect them. However, the governing body may decide that certain information is confidential, for example, the minutes relating to a staffing matter. It is for the governing body to decide whether members of the public or the press may attend their meetings. However, when the governing body is considering matters which are of a confidential nature, at this point in the meeting, members of the public and press will be required to leave.

Minutes are usually in two parts and the confidential items are in the second part. When the confidential part of the agenda is reached all non-governors, apart from the clerk and the Headteacher (if not a governor) should be asked to leave the meeting (as determined by the governing body). It is important however, to note that even the confidential part of the minutes must be made available if requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, although information will have to be blanked out to meet requirements in the Data Protection Act.

The legal framework regarding the publication of governing body minutes is noted below:
The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005
Part 8, Regulation 48

  1. Subject to paragraph (2), the governing body must, as soon as reasonably practicable, make available for inspection at the school by any interested person, a copy of—
    – (a) the agenda for every meeting;
    – (b) the signed minutes of every such meeting;
    – © any report or other paper considered at any such meeting; and
    – (d) the draft minutes of any meeting, if they have been approved by the person acting as chairman of that meeting.

  2. The governing body may exclude from any item required to be made available in pursuance of paragraph (1) any material relating to—
    – (a) a named person who works, or who it is proposed should work, at the school; or
    – (b) a named pupil at, or candidate for admission to, the school; or
    – © any other matter that, by reason of its nature, the governing body is satisfied should remain confidential.

  3. Each page of published copies of any draft minutes of proceedings of meetings approved by the chair must indicate that they are draft minutes.