When recruiting a clerk to governors, the process should follow that used for any other member of school staff. The post should be advertised to ensure equal opportunities and in maintained schools, the agreed Local Authority job description should be used.
The governing board needs to determine accurately what duties it requires the clerk to carry out and how long these are likely to take before advertising the post.
The post holder should be expected to carry out the full range of duties within the Job Description, but the board will also need to bear in mind its own context and setting when deciding on the specific tasks that it requires the clerk to undertake; for example maintaining and uploading governor information on the school website and Get Information About Schools (GIAS).
“The Department for Education recognises the value of professional quality clerking to governing boards in maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. As anyone who has experienced professional clerking will testify, it provides an invaluable contribution to the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and compliance of the governing board.
A professional clerk works in partnership with the chair to keep the board focused on its core strategic priorities, provides independent and expert advice and guidance to the board on its duties and functions, and delivers administrative support that makes everything work smoothly.”
Sir David Carter, foreword to the Clerking Competency Framework.
Calculating the hours needed
Download a printable version of the clerking calculator (including a blank template as well as a sample completed one)
|Task or responsibility||Hours||Total|
|Full governing board meeting – 1 each half term||8 -10 hours per meeting x 6||48 – 60|
|Resources committee – 1 each half term||8 -10 hours per meeting x 6||48 – 60|
|Teaching and learning committee – 1 each half term||8 -10 hours per meeting x 6||48 – 60|
|Performance and pay committee – 2 meetings a year||8 -10 hours per meeting x 2||16 – 20|
|Ethos committee – 1 each half term||8 -10 hours per meeting x 6||48 – 60|
|Allowance for 3 additional meetings per year based on historical need||8 -10 hours per meeting x 3||24 – 30|
|Statutory duties / other tasks (e.g. governor/trustee queries and emails, distributing information, parent and staff elections, skills audit, governor recruitment)||20 hours per term||60|
|Additional duties (e.g. school website information; GIAS; governor induction; policies; annual cycle)||15 hours per term||45|
|Training, development and research||15 hours per term||45|
|Example annual total of hours||382 – 440|
Clerks who work in a school in another capacity
- For clerks who also work in the school in another capacity, there are some areas that it is useful to consider and discuss during the appraisal process. An open and honest conversation can help to address any potential issues.
- If a conflict of interests arises between the two roles how would this be recognised, managed and addressed?
- If there are conflicting demands on the clerks’ time how are these managed? The clerk will have two line managers – the headteacher for their school role, and the chair of governors as the clerk. Are separate contracts in place for each role?
- Are the hours allocated to the clerking role sufficient, or are some tasks ‘slipping’ into the time allocated to the school role? If someone who did not work in the school took on the role would the hours still be appropriate?
- Is there a clear and agreed understanding of the clerks’ responsibilities if a confidential matter is discussed at a governing board meeting that may have an impact on school staff? How is the dual role communicated to others working in the school? Do people understand that the clerk may need to behave differently or respond differently according to which role they are fulfilling?
- Is the clerk able to compartmentalise the two areas of their work to keep them separate? Are they able to demonstrate objectivity, and clearly differentiate between their role and responsibilities as a clerk and their role as a member of the school staff?
- Do the chair, headteacher and clerk liaise to agree on priorities and release the clerk from their school role in order to attend training as the clerk or to meet with the chair during school hours?
- Is there an agreed understanding of when the clerk will be available between meetings? Can governors contact the clerk at any time, or is clerking work carried out on specific days and times?
Clerks who work from home
For clerks who work from home, there are some areas that are useful to consider and discuss during the appraisal process. An open and honest conversation can help to address any potential issues.
- Is the clerk recognised as a member of staff and welcomed in school with an area in which to work if needed? Is the clerk expected to work entirely from home, only coming into school for meetings? Is the system working well?
- How is the working relationship between the clerk and the administration team in the school? Does each have a mutual respect for the pressures that the other may be facing? Examples could include the clerk experiencing difficulties accessing policies on The Source from home necessitating the administrator downloading them to a school computer, or a need to photocopy several hundred ballot papers for a parent election.
- Does the clerk have a school laptop, school email address and access to, for example, paper and printer cartridges? If a clerk is using their own IT equipment what measures are in place to protect the information?
- Is there an agreed understanding of when the clerk will be available between meetings? Can governors contact the clerk at any time, including evenings and weekends, or does the clerk work on specific days of the week/hours of the day? How quickly is the clerk expected to respond to queries from individual governors, the chair, or the headteacher?
- How will you know if the hours allocated for the role are appropriate?
- Is there any potential for a conflict of interests for the clerk if they are also a parent at the school, or involved in the local community in another capacity? How would any conflict be recognised, managed and addressed?
- How does the school and the governing board keep the clerk ‘in the loop’ if they are not regularly in school? How is correspondence dealt with which comes into school addressed to the governors?