Monday 29th June 2020
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, can academy trust trustees’ terms of office be extended if they expire during school holidays?
The DfE’s recent ‘School governance: coronavirus (COVID-19) June update’ states the following with regard to extending terms of office in academy trusts during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
“For academy trusts, the terms of office of elected parent local governors on LGBs and elected parent trustees will be determined by the articles of association and trustees will need to make pragmatic decisions as to whether terms can be extended under the particular terms of their articles of association (usually the case for parent local governors), or whether the trust can continue to function with less governors or trustees if necessary.”1
The trust board should ensure that when making the decision, it reviews and adheres to any provision regarding the appointment of trustees and the extension of trustees’ terms of office in the trust’s own articles of association.
If the trustee whose term is due to expire holds an elected position, they could not be reappointed at this time, because the election process may not be accessible to all those eligible to vote. The board would need to review the trust’s articles of association and take a pragmatic view to extend the terms or carry vacancies until a time when an election can take place, such as when the school is fully open to all pupils.2
1 DfE (2020) ‘School governance: coronavirus (COVID-19) June update’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-governance-update> [Accessed: 22 June 2020
2 Wadley, N. (2020) (Email conversation regarding the extension of terms of office for academy trust governors) [Personal communication: 19 June 2020]