Taylor (1977)

1977 Taylor Report (text)

The Taylor Report (1977)
A New Partnership for Our Schools

Report of the Committee of Enquiry appointed jointly by the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Wales under the chairmanship of Mr Tom Taylor CBE

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1977
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Background notes

Historical context

The Committee of Enquiry was appointed by Labour education secretary Reg Prentice (and the Secretary of State for Wales) in April 1975 (eighteen months before Prime Minister Jim Callaghan gave his Ruskin College speech which began the 'Great Debate' about education). It was asked:

To review the arrangements for the management and government of maintained primary and secondary schools in England and Wales, including the composition and functions of bodies of managers and governors, and their relationships with local education authorities, with head teachers and staffs of schools, with parents of pupils and with the local community at large; and to make recommendations (page iii).
The report was presented to education secretary Shirley Williams and Welsh secretary John Morris in June 1977.

Tom Taylor

Born in 1929, Tom Taylor (pictured) became a member of Blackburn Town Council in 1954 and was its Leader from 1972 to 1976. He was a founder member of the Council of the Lancaster University and served as its Deputy Pro-Chancellor from 1972 to 1995. He became a peer (Baron Taylor of Blackburn) in 1978. He was suspended from membership of the Lords for six months in 2009 after being caught up in the 'cash for questions' scandal.

The 23 members of the Committee included Joan Sallis, the first national president of the Campaign for State Education and a campaigner for school governor training.

The Committee was divided on a number of issues, one member (Councillor PO Fulton, chair of Cleveland's education committee) even producing his own minority report, which can be found in the Notes.

The Taylor Report contains an invaluable history of school managers and governors from 597 to 1945 in Appendix B.

Summary of the report's main recommendations

The committee made 89 recommendations, which can be found in the Summary of recommendations. The following are some of the key points:

  • all the powers relevant to school government should be formally vested in the local education authority, but there should be as much delegation of these powers to the governing body as is compatible with the local education authority's ultimate responsibility for the running of the schools in its area;
  • governing bodies should consist of equal numbers of local education authority representatives, school staff, parents (with, where appropriate, pupils) and representatives of the local community;
  • the head teacher of a school should always be a member of its governing body;
  • elections of parent governors should be school-based and combine meetings and other procedures to ensure maximum participation;
  • the Secretaries of State should seek advice on whether it would be possible to enable pupils to serve as governors at 16;
  • notices, agendas and minutes of governors' meetings should be made available in the teachers' common room;
  • support staff should be kept informed of the governing body's work;
  • governing bodies should be empowered to authorise the establishment of school councils or similar organisations by the pupils;
  • governors should ensure effective communication with parents;
  • governors should have responsibility for setting the aims of the school, for considering the means by which they are pursued, for keeping under review the school's progress towards them, and for deciding upon action to facilitate such progress;
  • individual governors should have the opportunity of seeing classes at work;
  • every governing body should produce a first general appraisal of the school's progress, however incomplete, within four years of its formation;
  • authorities should study the possibilities of making financial arrangements to facilitate initiative and independent action at the school level;
  • the procedure for the appointment of a head should provide for a small selection committee consisting equally of members of the governing body and representatives of the local education authority;
  • the selection of deputy heads and other teachers should rest with the governing body;
  • local education authorities should be required to make and publish arrangements for their procedures with regard to the suspension of pupils;
  • initial and in-service training courses should be provided for governors;
  • governors' meetings should be held at least twice a term.

The report online

The full text of the report (including the Appendices) is online.

I have corrected a handful of misprints and a few spelling inconsistencies.

Anything added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets]. Note, however, that square brackets were used in the printed version of Appendices B, E and G.

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 17 August 2008; they were revised on 24 November 2012.