Plans to scrap parent governors sparks row in schools shakeup

The Guardian is reporting that parent governors are to be dropped from all school governing bodies England in favour of professionals with the “right skills”.

Until now, places have been reserved for elected parents on school governing bodies, but under plans outlined by education secretary Nicky Morgan in the white paper published on Thursday those roles will now be abolished.

The new emphasis will be on the skills – for example in business or finance – that an individual brings to a governing body, rather than their value as a stakeholder, such as a parent with children in the school.

“As we move towards a system where every school is an academy, fully skills-based governance will become the normal [sic] across the education system,” the white paper said.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Voices of parents, governors and the local community are being silenced by a government that does not believe in proper democratic accountability in our schools.”

Governors also condemned the move. One former parent governor, who worked her way up from novice governor to become chair and now director of a multi-academy trust, said: “I think it’s a mistake. I would never have become a governor under these rules.

“After 12 years, I feel like an expert governor, but it would not have happened if I hadn’t had the opportunity to be elected as a parent governor. There aren’t enough ready-made skilled governors – we have to grow our own and plan for succession, just as we do with school leaders.”

Gillian Allcroft of the National Governors’ Association called on the government to keep parents on boards. “Parents of children and young people studying at a school bring an important perspective to the governance of schools that others are unlikely to bring.”

She agreed that the right mix of skills was vital, but added: “Recruiting a small number of board members from certain stakeholder groups and having a skilled board are not mutually exclusive…

More at: Plans to scrap parent governors sparks row in schools shakeup

 

Read or download the full white paper: Educational_Excellence_Everywhere

 

The role of the school governor is becoming more and more demanding so in some ways there is little surprise in this announcement, but where are all these available volunteers with professional skills going to come from?

And, as Gillian Allcroft points out, recruiting some with specialist skills and others who are ‘just’ parents might not need to be mutally exclusive.

Please let us know your reactions to this move in the comments or via Twitter…

 

Do schools still need parent governors?

 

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Comments

  1. StephenG41HR

    MaryMyatt Failure to recognise that this group provides a valuable supply of governors who remain in the system for the long term.

  2. WirralGov

    StephenG41HR MaryMyatt long term yes. As home carer think I brought skills as parent gov. Still here! Chair 3 schools & NLG.

  3. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove – They don’t want people who might disagree with their misguided ideology. They want business people – simples.

  4. Julie_Cordiner

    This is disgraceful. Parents have a huge interest in the school’s future and a commitment to the best provision. While it’s true they could still qualify if they have the required skills, the point is that by virtue of being a parent, they can bring a different perspective and type of challenge. By all means remove them if they are not representing parents properly and have a personal agenda, but that is for the chair to action, not the government.

  5. Nairb1

    Parents are likely to be concerned when school funding starts to be diverted to fund academy chain profits, when schools are required to buy their goods and services from a private company owned by the chief executive. They have to go and be replaced by business people for whom ‘profit’ is the key word in any enterprise.

  6. Simon Foster

    I have been a Governor of a school with just short of 2000 pupils and a ten million pound budget for nine years. I originally became a Parent Governor before being Co Opted onto the Governing Body around four years ago.

    I am now the Vice Chair and we are in negotiation with another school to set up a MAT and I have been asked to be a menmber of  the Board of Trustees for the soon to be formed MAT.

    I run my own company and have grown it from a one man band to a leader in its field

    Our other Parent Governors include:

    Chair of Finance is responsible for the Pensions for the Cooperative Group and she has a tremendous amount of financial acumen 

    We have another Parent Governor who works for Lloyds of London and travels all over Europe and has a significant amount of experience in Big Business

    The newest Parent Governor is a psychologist and helped us with the recruitment of our new head.

    Our Chair is also an ex parent governor

    If parent governors are not included in Governance Structures then non of us would be on the Governing Body and I would consider that a loss to our governing body.

    I find this new arrogant approach a little disrespectful as a lot of parents have brought a great deal to the governance within our school.

  7. So much for the ‘devolution’ to local communities, heads and parents that Cameron said wholesale academization would achieve when he answered a question from Green MP Caroline Lucas shortly before the budget on Wednesday.

  8. TW

    Simon Foster  Yes, yes, but are you and your governor colleagues focussed on making profits out of the school for a private company you own or are paid by?  If not, you are of no use to the government.

  9. TW

    Simon Foster  Yes, yes, but are you and your governor colleagues focussed on making profits out of the school for a private company you own or are paid by?  If not, you are of no use to the government.

  10. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Schools flourish when part of the community in my experience; removal of parent govs isolates schools which is unhealthy

  11. entdiamondsch

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove The beginning of dictatorship in schools. Unless this shower is removed pronto, things will get worse.

  12. SamanthaEva6

    SchoolsImprove parent governors are important and bring valuable skills and viewpoints. They actually care about pupils.

  13. PeterHutchinso5

    SamanthaEva6 Agreed. We might not have known the names of LA governors, but we certainly knew who the parent governors were.

  14. SamanthaEva6

    PeterHutchinso5 TY. Parent governors are a voice for other parents, and bring skills from life and work experience s. Invaluable.

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