How to handle confidential minutes from meetings

Understand how to make minutes confidential and what to do if you've had a breach. Get to grips with the rules around releasing confidential minutes to Ofsted inspectors or in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Last reviewed on 18 January 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 4917
  1. Know when and how to make minutes confidential 
  2. Determine how to circulate confidential minutes
  3. What to do if confidential minutes are improperly circulated
  4. How to respond to freedom of information requests
  5. Understand Ofsted's access to minutes 

Know when and how to make minutes confidential 

Maintained schools: most minutes from governing board meetings must be made available to anyone who is interested and wishes to see them. This is laid out in The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013.

Some confidential portions can be withheld, including anything which relates to:

  • A named person who works, or who it's proposed should work, at the school 
  • A named pupil at, or candidate for admission to, the school
  • Any other matter that the board thinks should remain confidential because of the nature of it 

This applies to committee meetings as well as full board meetings. 

Academies: the Department for Education's (DfE) model articles of association (articles 124 and 125) include the same requirements. Make sure you check your own articles of association, as they might differ from the model.  

When the board decides that particular items are