The Standing Orders of Boards of Schools was approved in 2004/05 and is currently under review. 


1.            Terms of Reference of the School Board

                The School Board will

(1)          have responsibility for the development of the academic strategy of the School in the areas of learning and teaching, research, and access and admissions within a framework established by Faculty and University strategy;

(2)          maintain a Staff-Student Liaison Committee and a Promotions Committee;

(3)          make recommendations to the Senate (and thereafter to the Council) as to the Head of the School;

(4)          delegate authority to School Officers (including the School Directors) to take such decisions as are necessary to secure the effective operation of the School within the parameters of University, Faculty and School policy;

(5)          receive periodic reports from School Officers;

(6)          at the invitation of the Dean of Faculty and as vacancies arise, make nominations to the Faculty Executive for the four academic representative positions of the Faculty on the Senate;

(7)          meet on a minimum of two occasions in the academic year.

2.            Constitution of the Board

The active membership  of the School Board shall be constituted as follows

(1)          The Head of School (who shall be Chair) [ex officio];

(2)          The School Directors (for example Admissions, Learning and Teaching, and Research) [ex officio];

(3)          The academic staff members of the School [ex officio];

(4)          At least one representative member of the contract research staff of the School where this applies;

(5)          At least one student representative drawn from each major level of study at which the School delivers programmes (i.e. undergraduate, postgraduate taught and/or postgraduate research) nominated by the Staff-Student Liaison Committee (SSLC) of the School from within its number and which will include the elected School Convenor.

(6)          Members, or representative members, of other staff groups of the School as recommended by the Head of School to the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor  for approval.

Representative (i.e. non-ex officio) staff and student members of the Board will hold membership for one year at a time and would be eligible to stand for representative membership for the following year. The Head of School will present the membership of the Board to the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor  for approval before the commencement of each academic year.

The proposed constitution enables the staff and students of the School to be fully represented at the School Board in a mix that reflects the academic provision of the School and is effective in the conduct of Board business. The above constitution allows Schools to have more than the basic number of student representatives if desired. For example, some of the Schools in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences have full-time and part-time student cohorts that are distinctive in their course provision and backgrounds and the Schools might wish this diversity to be reflected in their representation at the School Board. Staffing profiles of Schools also vary throughout the University and members, or representative members, of all staff groups within the School can be included in Board membership with the approval of the Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor.

The Head of School is able to invite others to attend the Board for a whole meeting or particular items to facilitate the Board’s discussion. The School Board will be serviced by the Faculty administration which will therefore be able to make an input to the meeting as appropriate. The Secretary to the Board and invited attendees will not have voting rights which will only extend to the Chair and staff and student members of the School Board.

3.            Officers of the School

(1)          The Head of the School

(a)          The Head shall be appointed by the Council on the nomination of the Board and the Senate in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance ‘The Deans of Schools of Studies’ shortly to be redesignated as ‘The Heads of Schools of Studies’.

(b)          The Head shall be Chair of the Board. The Board shall elect a Vice-Chair who shall act as Chair if the Chair is absent.

                (2)          The Directors of the School

(a)          A School Director should be appointed by the Head of School in the three key areas of (i) admissions, (ii) learning and teaching and (iii) research. The term of office for a School Director shall normally be three years after which s/he will be eligible for reappointment.  The size of a School and the complexity of the issues to be covered in each of the key areas should determine whether one individual should cover all those responsibilities or whether a separate Director should be appointed for each portfolio.

(b)          The Board shall authorise the School Directors to take the necessary decisions throughout the year to secure the effective operation of the School subject to the authority of the Head of School.

(c)           The School Directors will carry out responsibilities on behalf of the School as required by University’s regulations and Codes of Practice and on behalf of the School Board as delegated by the Board.  The School Director (LT) shall ensure that the student representatives on the School Board are well informed and able to participate in the business of the Board.

(d)          The effective operation of the School will mainly be secured through  the Head of School and the School Directors.  Larger Schools will usually assist  the School Directors in the conduct of their role through the support of other colleagues to whom the School Director would delegate operational  authority whilst retaining overall responsibility in terms of governance.  The Head of School may also invite  individuals or small groups on an ad hoc or regular basis to take forward various matters on behalf of and in consultation with colleagues in the School and to bring forward recommendations to the School for discussion.  At an operational level these discussions may take place within staff meetings and with student representatives through the School Director (LT) if appropriate.  Items of a strategic nature will be brought to the School Board for consideration.

4.            Meetings of the Board

(1)          There shall be two ordinary meetings of the Board each year, one in Semester One (October-November) and one in Semester Two (February-March) to facilitate the attendance of student Board members and to coincide with the reporting timetable for the Senate.

(2)          It is anticipated that the meeting in Semester One would offer the Board a platform to review the School’s performance during the previous academic year, to consider key operational areas for the current academic year, and to identify areas of strategy for development and review.  At the Spring meeting, the Board will wish to review progress during the current year and consider the outcomes and recommendations arising from the development or review of the School’s strategy.  The Board will ensure through the order of business that it fulfils its part in the quality assurance of its programmes and the experience of its students according to the governance framework laid down by the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee on behalf of the Senate.

(3)          Extraordinary meetings of a Board may in cases of urgency be summoned by the Head and shall be summoned by him/her on the direction of the Senate or on written requisition signed by ten members of the Board or by not less than one-third of the members, whichever may be the less.

(4)          The quorum shall be not less then one-third of the members in residence (that is such members as have not been granted study leave or absence by the Council).

(5)          Five days’ notice with the Agenda paper shall be given for ordinary meetings, and seven days’ for extraordinary meetings.

5.            Notice of Motions

(1)          Any member of the Board may require business to be placed on the Agenda paper by giving notice in writing so that it reaches the office of the Board Secretary not later than the tenth day preceding the meeting.

(2)          No resolution may be rescinded or altered in the Semester in which it is passed or in the Semester immediately following; nor may any motion which has been rejected be moved again in the Semester in which it was rejected or in the Semester immediately following; unless notice of the motion proposing to rescind or alter the resolution which has been passed or to reintroduce the rejected motion be signed by not less than one-third of the members in residence.

(3)          At extraordinary meetings no business shall be taken which does not appear in the Agenda paper.

6.            Order of Business

Unless the Chair shall otherwise direct, the order of business at an ordinary meting shall normally be:

(1)          Minutes

(2)          Matters arising from the Minutes

(3)          Statements by the Chair

(4)          Matters for discussion by the Board under Section A

(5)          Matters for report to the Board under Section B

Matters for discussion or report may come from several sources such as the Senate and its Committees, the University’s Executive Team, the Faculty, the Head of the School, the School Directors, other Boards of Studies, members of the Board including the student representatives, and the Promotions Committee and SSLC of the Board.

Business shall be arranged on the Agenda such that items for discussion will be presented under Section A and matters for report (not requiring discussion) will be presented under Section B.  Each item and any accompanying paper will be clearly presented to the Board with details of its origin, its status in terms of confidentiality, and the action required from the Board.

7.            Conduct of Business

(1)          The conduct of business shall be directed by the Chair of the meeting. His/her ruling upon a point of order shall be final.

(2)          All motions, except those from the Chair, must be seconded before being put to the meeting.

(3)          Every matter put to the vote shall be determined by a majority of the members present and voting on the question. In the case of equality of votes, the Chair shall give a second or casting vote.

(4)          The motion that ‘The Board proceed to the next business’ shall be put to the vote immediately without discussion.

(5)          The motion that ‘The question be now put’ shall be put to the vote immediately and without discussion.

8.            Committees

(1)          The Board shall appoint a Promotions Committee which shall conduct its business in accordance with approved University procedure.  Where there are several small Schools within a Faculty, it would be permissable for a School Board to appoint a Promotions Committee jointly with other Schools with the permission of the Dean of Faculty.

(2)          The Board shall have an SSLC which should meet regularly.  On behalf of the Board, the School Director (LT) should ensure that the SSLC complies with the University’s Code of Practice for Student Representation and Staff Student Liaison.

(3)          It is anticipated that a Board should have little need to establish formal committees beyond the Promotions Committee and SSLC given the governance arrangements established for a School.  However, should a Board need to establish a formal committee it shall determine what powers and duties of the Board should be delegated to the committee and the terms of office, not exceeding three years, of the members of the committee.

(4)          The Head of the School shall be ex officio a member of all committees of the Board.

(5)          In the case of urgent business requiring attention between meetings of the Board, and when it is not practical to call a special meeting, the Chair (or in his or her absence the Vice-Chair) of the Board shall have power to exercise all the powers and duties of the Board.

9.            Voting

Voting shall be by a show of hands except when any member of the Board requests a ballot.

10.          Suspension of Standing Orders

Standing Orders may be suspended if two-thirds of members present and voting vote in favour.


[1]          These Standing Orders are made under Statute 29(1)(D) and should be read in conjunction with Statutes 21 and 29.  In 2004-2005 the University’s Council and Senate undertook a review of governance which resulted in the change of designation of ‘Dean of School’ to ‘Head of School’ and gave greater direction to School Boards as to their purpose and conduct of business within the scope laid down by the University’s Statutes.  Although Statute 21 confers membership of the School Board on the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the review of governance resolved that this membership would not be actively pursued and therefore these members have not been included within the active membership of the Board as described under Standing Order 2.