School governors should adopt “alternative arrangements” for their meetings now that non-essential gatherings are banned, the government has said.
The Department for Education has issued new guidance for governors, which states that governing bodies and boards of trustees should “adopt alternative arrangements, for example by using video or teleconferencing applications”.
“These may include but are not limited to: Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Please remember that all parties will need to agree to these arrangements,” the guidance continues.
The DfE also suggests that boards can “agree to hold meetings via telephone or video-conferencing without having to meet first”.
“The chair or clerk/governance professional can contact governors directly to agree to alternative meeting arrangements during this lockdown period.”
Despite a national lockdown, governors continue to have statutory duties relating to running schools, and the DfE is urging boards to have contingency plans in place in case the chair and vice chair “become unavailable”.
The department also urged governors to be “pragmatic in what they cover in meetings during this time, and to be proportionate in the decisions that they are planning to take”.
“We expect governors to focus on urgent, time-bound decisions. We understand that you are likely to want to defer non-urgent decisions/agenda items until future meetings.”
Those who have their details listed on the get information about schools website are also being urged to keep their email addresses up to date.
“Important information being communicated from the department may require quick and effective action,” the guidance warns.