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Schools must publish on their website up-to-date details of their Governors' Information and this should be in a readily accessible form to meet school website requirements.
Maintained Schools need to publish information on the governing body in line with the constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools statutory guidance.
Academies trusts must publish accessible and up-to-date details of governance arrangements. Find more on what you need to publish about your academy and its board of trustees in the Academies financial handbook (paragraphs 2.49 to 2.50).
Released on April 17, 2023, a new requirement for schools to publish governing board diversity data suggests schools publish this information on their website.
We asked DfE for clarification on how this specific suggestion should be implemented as the most common raised by schools is around how to present information while also keeping it anonymous.
One of the suggestions has been to include a statement such as “Our school/trust is committed to having an active board that is diverse and inclusive and reflective of the community we serve. More information is available upon request from the school office."
One of the trusts we work with quickly updated the information because it is already stored elsewhere and has been pulled out to be more visible. See https://twyfordacademies.org.uk/key-documentation/governance. (Go to Equality and Diversity Objectives and Action Plan > Expand the document - towards the end of the document there is ‘objective 5’ which demonstrates the board reflecting the diversity of the community.)
We asked DfE to confirm if both these methods were acceptable. Their response was as follows:
"Both the examples given are a valid response to the request. We appreciate the schools/trusts taking this guidance on board for governing bodies to be more reflective of the school communities they serve. We understand that there are specific risks associated with encouraging boards to publish their diversity data, especially when boards consist of small groups of people to keep anonymity. This is why we have not specified a prescriptive way that the data should be collected and published. And also why this is something we are only encouraging rather than a mandatory ask."
Our recommendation is very much to use a simple sentence to meet this suggestion and save yourself work. But, you must ensure you have the information available should you be asked to provide it at any time. So, it does not need to be on your website but you do need to have a sense of this picture readily available.
You should also publish the same information for associate members. However, you must make it clear whether they have voting rights on any of the committees they belong to.
Similarly, you may wish to just publish your governors’ handbook, which should include all the above information.
The DfE definition: “Readily accessible means that the information should be on a webpage without the need to download or open a separate document.”
We recommend that you provide your Governors' Information on a specific website page for Governor Information. Therefore, removing the need to download a document. In fact, as this can cause viewing issues. Schudio users have a document group function built into the system that will help you to meet this requirement.
We also recommend that you do not bury any information or documents away but instead make sure they are easily found. Indeed name the information with a title that is relevant to the information being viewed. Similarly, we recommend you use the same language and text that the DfE uses so that time isn’t wasted searching through your site. More importantly, the content needs to be in a format that works well on all types of devices.
The information you publish needs to be easy to read. Therefore, you need to consider how you will display all this information. For instance, consider sectioning this out into groups. Obligingly Schudio users have a feature called tab groups which is an ideal solution. Hence this is a great way to split the information into bitesize sections while keeping it all on one page.
Once you have the content it is really important that readers can find what they are looking for. However, this will be different for every school.
Some options for menu titles:
Listed on one of these menus would be a Governor's page/pages.
If your governor information is split into multiple pages it would be useful to have an introductory page. Then this could link to more detailed governor information pages. The introductory page would be an excellent opportunity to explain the role of the governing body. Perhaps the chair of governors could write this page? This is not part of the statutory requirements but will help people to understand what your school governors do.
So you have included the above statutory requirements and presented it in a clear well-defined format. What next?
Why not consider trying one or more of the following tips?
Your governor's intro page is usually a good place for this. Thus giving you the option to view different governor information on pages within this section. Why not take a look at our previous blog post about how to display staff and governor information?
Related content is ideal for achieving this. Try tagging a relevant main school news item with the governor tag. This would then display relevant news articles published on your website in the governors' section.
This could be useful when you have spaces on your governing body. Additionally, when it's time for re-election this could be used as an advert. Equally important is the explanation of the types of governors on your governing body. Of course, this needs to be in an easy-to-understand, education jargon-free way. Moreover, the process for each type of governor to join your school's team is useful.
In conclusion, having more than just the minimum statutory requirements on your governor page. However, to go above and beyond you must first make sure you have met all of the statutory requirements. For more details on this required information make sure you make use of our resources, including our School Website Compliance Guide. Please note that the requirements are slightly different for maintained schools and academies.
Finally, it is important that you read these requirements carefully and in full. For example, when auditing school websites, we often notice that the governor's page is full of content. Subsequently, there will be a small detail of the requirement that is missing. For instance, the requirements specifically state you must publish the full name of each person. We find many schools just use initials and surnames.
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