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School Governors And Managers

Volume 893: debated on Monday 16 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether any further guidance has been given by the Secretary of State to the Taylor Committee on School Governors and Managers over and above the published terms of reference; and whether he will publish such guidance.

Further guidance was given to this committee in a letter sent to the chairman by my predecessor on 5th May. The text is as follows:

"When John Morris and I announced our intention to set up the Committee on the Management and Government of Schools, we made clear that its work would be fundamental and wide-ranging. The Committee's terms of reference reflect that view: they are intended to give the Committee very wide freedom to review the present arrangements and to recommend what changes it may think appropriate. The present arrangements touch upon virtually every aspect of the life of a school; the Committee will no doubt consider very carefully which particular aspects must be pursued in depth, to ensure that its efforts are concentrated to the most fruitful effect.
We think the Committee will find it helpful if we say at the outset that we do not expect the Committee to concern itself with those aspects of the present arrangements for voluntary schools which arise essentially from their voluntary character and which reflect the respective interests of the providing body and of the local education authority in the provision and administration of a voluntary school. These aspects include particularly the relative responsibilities of the authority and the providing body for the provision of premises and finance; their relative shares in appointing the persons who are to be responsible for the conduct of the school and, directly or indirectly. in the appointment of its staff; the arrangements for determining the character of the school, for the admission of pupils, for denominational religious worship and teaching, and for the use of the school premises outside school hours.
It is not the Government's intention to review at present the structure of the dual system of county and voluntary schools, which was established after the most careful consideration and clearly remains generally acceptable to educational and public opinion. In considering the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee in due course, however, we shall have regard to any implications they may have for the matters mentioned above.
If any question arises whether a particular matter is intended to be covered by the above paragraphs, we shall be ready to determine it.
Perhaps I might take this opportunity to pick out for special mention one issue among the many which will fall to be examined under the Committee's terms of reference. This is whether the arrangements for the management and government of schools should impose an obligation on the head to consult his staff on matters relating to the internal organisation, management and discipline of the school. I know that strong views are held on this by various interests concerned in the running of schools. John Morris and I have no doubt that the Committee will accept, as we do, that such consultation is always desirable; we trust that the Committee, in the course of reviewing the present arrangements, will consider whether or not it should be made a mandatory requirement. If the Committee conclude that it should, we would expect them to want to offer advice on the scope and form of the provision which would be needed to ensure its smooth and effective working, to identify the various elements having a part to play in the procedure and to express their views on the respective functions which each of the parties would need to be given."