New report spotlights importance of professional clerks in academies

Schools without professional clerks are breaking governance laws, according to a new report.

The warning, published in industry publication Schools Week, says governors must be provided with a professional clerk to carry out their legal and governance duties.

The report cites the governance handbook which states that a board must use a “professional clerk” to take minutes, organise the board and help navigate the law.

It further says that “the clerk should be the board’s governance professional”, and the board should be “assured” the person in place has suitable training and knowledge. The board should also “expect to pay an appropriate amount”.

Julia Millard, of the National Leaders of Governance, said personal assistants will not suffice and schools are likely to get into trouble for breaking the rules.

Likewise, David Carter, the national schools commissioner, said “we all need to do more to recruit and develop more clerks”.

Some experts say the definition of an independent clerk is hard to come by, but the Government has recently developed a certificate in clerking of school and governing boards, which is now available through the National Governance Association.

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