Getting rid of a school governor?

(15 Posts)
woollyideas Thu 28-Mar-13 10:28:32

In a nutshell: Chair of Governors has been in post for many years (not sure how many - his 'profile' is not clear about this, but Deputy Chair has been incumbent over thirty years. Over the past few years the school has deteriorated from 'good' to 'satisfactory' and following its last Ofsted report is now 'inadequate' and has gone into special measures. It is a secondary school, by the way.
The school has recently become a converter academy. The previous head 'resigned due to ill health', but was actually under investigation by the LEA at the time, so there is currently an acting head.
During the academisation process a number of parents wrote to the chair of governors with questions and concerns and received no response or acknowledgement to their letters and emails. Other parents have written to the chair of governors with more specific issues relating to their own children and received no acknowledgement or response.
Some of us feel very strongly that the Chair and Deputy of Governors should resign as they have presided over the school's deterioration and ignore communications from parents.
At open meetings several parents have requested the Chair and Deputy to step down and allow the school a chance to have a fresh start, but their response is to say 'we were voted into our positions and will stay here.' Incidentally, another governor is the son of the chair of governors - so a pretty assured vote there I would say.
Sorry this has turned out to be a long post, but does anyone have any experience of a similar situation? Can you offer any advice?
Thanks.

Hassled Thu 28-Mar-13 10:39:55

Page 11, point 27 of the Guide to the Law for School Governors may be useful - I'm assuming the Chair is a LA Governor, and that implies the LA has to remove them. Could a group of parents collectively write to the relevant LA person (it's usually a councillor who formally appoints LA Governors - if you google your LA+Governor Services you may find contact details of a person who would know who it would have been - if they've since retired, presumably it would be their elected successor) ?

woollyideas Thu 28-Mar-13 11:05:00

If the school is an academy and is therefore now outside of LEA control, I'm not sure the Chair would be a LA governor, would he? Sorry, as you may have guessed I'm totally ignorant about these things - just a very, very frustrated parent!

I'm curious about point 25 in the document you linked, which says: "The maximum term of office for all categories of governor is four years." Doesn't this suggest that the Deputy Chair (who has been there since 1982) has exceeded this? I'm fairly sure the Chair has also been on the board for longer than four years, too.

woollyideas Thu 28-Mar-13 11:05:23

Sorry, I did mean to start that post by saying thanks!

Hassled Thu 28-Mar-13 11:30:15

Sorry - the Academy status had somehow escaped me. Yes, there would certainly have been re-elections - but that's often a formality.

Hassled Thu 28-Mar-13 12:00:59

This is interesting from the DfE - members of the Academy Trust have the power to remove governors of the Academy Trust.

But then: "It is the existing governing body, foundation body or trust (for voluntary aided or some foundation schools) that would decide who would form the academy trust, which would then appoint the governing body." So the members you would be asking to remove the governor would be the same people who appointed the governor at the time of the conversion. They have it nicely stitched up.

woollyideas Thu 28-Mar-13 12:13:29

I think stitch up does describe what it feels like...
Can I ask what your view is on somebody sitting on the governing board for thirty-one years? And for the son of the chair to also be a governor? I'm guessing that somehow the rules allow for this, but it feels so wrong somehow.

prh47bridge Thu 28-Mar-13 12:57:39

As the school is in special measures it is possible the DfE will make changes to the governing body.

The chair and deputy chair are appointed by the governors so the only way of getting them removed is for the governors to pass a vote of no confidence. Of course, the governors could also elect someone else when the post comes up for re-election.

The DfE could remove these people from the governing body altogether. The governors also have the power to remove a governor. Whoever appointed these people as governors can also remove them when their term runs out and they are up for renewal. If they are parent governors it is simply a case of getting people to stand against them and mustering as much support as you can.

To be honest, your chances of getting these people removed are minimal unless the DfE decide that the governors are not up to running the school.

Hassled Thu 28-Mar-13 14:10:11

I knew prh47 would know grin

You asked what I would think of the situation - I resigned as a Chair after 4 years because I thought it was time for new blood; I was too cosy with the Head and staff and didn't feel I was providing enough of a challenge. I'd become part of the furniture - and so it was hard to see strategically, if you see what I mean.

After 30 years - words fail me, really. I suppose assuming they are keeping up to date with training and understand new initiatives and are monitoring effectively, it could be fine - but far more likely, given the Ofsted outcomes, there's a complacency and a failure to govern effectively.

As a bit of an aside, round these parts it's a bit of a joke re how few Academies are anything other than good or outstanding, no matter how they're actually doing - compare a "needs improvement" LA school dashboard and an "outstanding" Academy dashboard and the LA school's will probably look better -so for your Academy to be inadequate it really must be very bad indeed.

Hassled Thu 28-Mar-13 14:35:37

I should add that I know of some exceptionally good Chairs who have been there for years and years. It is possible to be part of the furniture and still do a really good job. But these are people who are constantly refreshing their training, attending conferences, developing their skills.

woollyideas Thu 28-Mar-13 17:53:59

Thanks for your answers. It's not looking good, so far as I can gather... sad

Littlefish Thu 28-Mar-13 18:32:21

I will pm you.

GovernorJ Mon 26-May-14 15:55:30

Sounds like a very unhealthy Governing Body. Sadly a lot of Governing Bodies are just like this, they are rarely dynamic and always seem surprised when the school gets a bad report. Firstly, Governors serve for 4 years terms. Parent Governors the same, they can only be re-elected if they still have a child at the school. Any Governor can be removed by the other members of the Governing Body, or the LA can remove them with Secretary of States Permission or the SoS can just remove them. Best thing, get the minutes, find out who is parent governor. a body like this is usually breaking good governance rules and probably rarely visits the school. Collect evidence and form a parents pressure group to raise standards.

MM5 Mon 26-May-14 20:06:12

This academy must have a sponsor. Usually, the complaints process is similar to an LEA and the next step is writing a letter of complaint to the sponsor with your concerns.

The sponsor is responsible for ensuring that the policies and procedures are followed.

Failing that, a letter directly to the Education Finding Agency regarding the school should have some effect as they have the accountability directly to DfE.

EvilTwins Mon 26-May-14 20:07:26

This thread is over a year old.

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