I'm a newbie school governor and I'm just learning the protocols.
Is it ok to communicate with other governors, including the Head, by email outside of meetings? For example if you do a little background research regarding a topic that was discussed at a previous meeting, is it ok to circulate that to other governors, or should it go more formally via the Clerk or the Chair?
And is it ok to send emails outside of office hours and during school holidays? (I'm assuming it is, since it's not exactly a 9-5 job and most of us are volunteers who are fitting the role around family life - so long as you don't expect an immediate reply of course).
In the general context of contacting the head teacher and other governors between meetings then there is no issue. As PatriciaHolm says, having emails set up via the school is probably a better way of handling this.
However having said that there are some issues. Firstly practically anything you say on email no matter what you put on the top of the email will not be confidential if it comes legal, so you need to exercise some caution about anything said by email.
The other point is that if you discussed something at the last meeting then presumably a decision was agreed around the discussion. You going and doing research with presumably a different slant on the outcome is not going to be well received. I would always in those circumstances be working via the Chair of Governors, so that you do not start to become the "irritant" who always wants to continue a debate even when the decision has been taken. You should be getting the agenda for any GB meeting 7 days in advance, so any research you want to do should be before the meeting, not after it.
I second what admission says. Stick to researching only if it has been asked of you, or is related to a specific duty of yours, for example, if you had responsibility for training then it would be reasonable to research this after a discussion in a meeting. Be careful not to e mail selectively as well. It would not go down well if some governors were included in a discussion and others were not. Again this would not apply if you were involved in a sub committee.
Dear OP if you want advice about being a governor there is a fantastic forum full of very experienced governors. I was a member (technically stlll am but gave up being a governor after 8 years in 2011). Every question you have will be answered there!
I agree with SecretSquirr31s. Do not use selective email and keep all your messages concise. Make everything you do as transparent and open as possible with your fellow governors and voice any concerns at the earliest possible opportunity. I'm sure you will be fine!