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Clause 4

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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Governors' Proceedings And Tenure Of Office

Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 5, line 15, at end insert:

"( )Regulations under subsection (1) above shall make provision for the election of a chairman by the governors of any such school."

9.57 pm

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

This was a Government amendment agreed on Report in the other place and was proposed in response to arguments advanced from the Liberal Benches.

Although the model instrument for county schools already provides for the chairman of a governing body to be chosen by election by the governing body itself, the Government accepted that in the context of the new provisions of the Bill it was desirable to enshrine this requirement in the statute to apply to all governing bodies.

I welcome the Government's acceptance of the amendment, which I hope is a sign of Government and parliamentary faith in school governing bodies and in the principle that they should be independent, with self-confidence and self-respect. We should clearly spell out that they appoint their own chairmen. We particularly want to get away from the notion that the local governing body must be controlled by the education authority, which must put in its own chairman.

The object of the amendment is to ensure that the local governing body chooses as chairman any suitable person from among its own members. That is part of an assertion of its own independence.

I welcome the ready way in which the Government have accepted the point made strongly by my noble Friend Lord Beaumont of Whitley.

Question put and agreed to.