School Website Requirements – Update April 2023
A small update has just been made to the school website requirements on th 17th April along with a subsequent clarification the following week on the 25th. You can view it in full on the DfE website statutory requirements document for schools.
New – Collecting and publishing governing board diversity data
Diversity is important and we want governing boards to be increasingly reflective of the communities they serve.
We encourage schools to collect and publish governing board members’ diversity data. Information should be widely accessible to members of the school community and the public. Board members can opt out of sharing their information, including protected characteristics, at any given time including after publication.”
This is currently, however, a recommendation rather than a requirement and schools will want to prepare to add this information whilst being careful to ensure they stay within the GDPR requirements which are in place to support people in keeping certain information private and confidential. With recommended categories for publication including age, gender and ethnicity, schools will have to ensure they have explicit consent from governors to publish this information publicly.
Schools and boards should also be looking to ensure that no individual can be clearly identified via this data – which will be especially difficult, and potentially impossible, for small boards to manage.
Small School Example Statement
As a school we recognise that a diversity of thought, voices and perspectives is essential to good governance and the effective running of any organisation. We regularly collect diversity information from our governors and, depending on current data, can use this to:
– target recruitment to address gaps in experience and diversity
– develop and adapt board practices to ensure full participation
– prioritise training and awareness-raising in identified areas
– address potential ‘blind spots’ through seeking wider advice and perspectives on current and upcoming opportunities, challenges and risks
However, we are unable to publish this information as it would mean that individual members of our governing body are identifiable.
One thing you may wish to consider is the impact of updating your governor diversity information every time a new member joins the board – which could make them immediately identifiable through this information. Especially if you choose to include multiple characteristics.
The government is keen that schools use this information to be reflective about the makeup of their governing bodies, and this as a practice in itself can definitely be a good thing to look at internally, especially in regards to the community you serve. However, making the information public takes a lot of careful consideration. It is vital that schools offer governors a way to opt out of such data gathering and the publishing of this data, particularly where the protected characteristics are concerned, in line with the Equality Act 2010.