Case Study 6

Mr Sims, a parent governor, complains to the chair that another governor has breached confidentiality regarding his own son whose behaviour was discussed at a recent governing body meeting at which Mr Sims was not present. Things have been fairly fraught between the two governors. Mr Sims is now in the process of formalising his complaint in writing to present to the chair of the governing body. The chair intends to ignore the issue, hoping that this bad feeling will resolve itself in due course.

It would not be appropriate to “ignore” this complaint, it will be in writing and therefore will need to be investigated. The process to follow would be set out in the school’s complaints procedure. Welsh Government Guidance on Schools Complaints Procedures states that:

If a complaint is made against a governor or group of governors it should be referred to the chair of governors (provided that the chair is not a subject of the complaint). The chair or a governor chosen by the chair should investigate (Stage B onwards of the model complaints procedure should apply). If the complaint is upheld the complaints committee should consider whether to recommend to the governing body that some or all of the governors subject to the complaint should resign or be removed from the governing body. Care should be taken to ensure that no governors implicated in the complaint take part in investigating it, are members of the complaints committee or take part in any governing body discussion and decisions about governors resigning or being removed.

  • Why was the behaviour of an individual pupil discussed at the meeting?

  • Part 8, Regulation 48 (2) of The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005 states that:

  • 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
    – c. any other matter that, by reason of its nature, the governing body is satisfied should remain confidential.
  • How did the governor breach confidentiality?
  • Is there is any evidence regarding the breach of confidentiality?

  • Part 8, Regulation 49 of The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005 states that:

  • Subject to paragraphs (2), (3) and (4), the governing body may by resolution suspend a governor for all or any meetings of the governing body, or of a committee, for a fixed period of up to 6 months on one or more of the following grounds—
    – a. that the governor, being a person paid to work at the school, is the subject of disciplinary proceedings in relation to his or her employment;
    – b. that the governor is the subject of proceedings in any court or tribunal, the outcome of which may be that he or she is disqualified from continuing to hold office as a governor under Schedule 5;
    – c. that the governor has acted in a way that is inconsistent with the ethos or with the religious character of the school and has brought or is likely to bring the school or the governing body or his or her office into disrepute; or
    – d. that the governor is in breach of his or her duty of confidentiality to the school or to any member of staff or to any pupil at the school.
  • Who will investigate the complaint?
  • Will a panel of three governors need to be convened to hear the complaint?
  • Once the complaint has been resolved/dealt with, it may be appropriate for the chair to meet with the two governors to see if the situation could be resolved for the best interests of the school.