Parent Governors to be Scrapped

(12 Posts)
YesterdayOnceMore Fri 18-Mar-16 10:31:48

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35837783
www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/17/parent-governor-role-scrapped-schools-teacher-qualifications

Academies and no parents governors?! This is scary stuff. What are "professionals with the right skills" anyway?!

YesterdayOnceMore Fri 18-Mar-16 10:37:15

AND getting rid of qualified teacher status too. This is too awful.

ReallyTired Fri 18-Mar-16 10:43:50

Unless the parents have professsional skills like finance, education knowledge then they are not in a position to challenge the head teacher and ask pertinment questions. There are schools where there are not enough parents with the time and the right skills to volunteer. What I don't know is where Nicky thinks that schools will find all these talented professionals with plenty of spare time who are prepared to work for free.

However I believe that lot of parents completely underestimate their professional skills and talents. I don't object to certain criteria being applied to governors, but there is a real dreft of community governors. I am not sure that the local parish priest has any more revelent skills than the SAHM. Maybe they need to look at training and whether a potential governor has the ablity and the willingness to learn.

I fear that schools are being stitched up and governors will be all academy yes men.

Bogburglar99 Fri 18-Mar-16 11:02:04

What I find odd (I am a parent governor) is that you are elected by the parent body, but the minute you are you are told that you're 'not a parent representative, you're a representative parent' ie you may have been elected but you are now expected to act as if you hadn't been. Gives a false impression of accountability.

And there is a problem that four parent Govs (which is what we have) can't be said to speak for the 300 strong parent body.

The system of appointing governors is also as weird as it comes, more or less amounting to 'you'd like to be a governor? thank you very much.' If we are going to have governing bodies based on the skills needed, then we need a transparent process of advert, application and interview. No reason you couldn't apply this process in order to fill a set quota of parent governors.

And yes I agree that the numbers of skilled professionals willing to do this for free will be limited. I have a professional job which includes some of the skills needed for the governing body. I serve as a governor because I am committed to my children's school. Apologies for the lack of altruism but I'd be less excited about offering them to the school down the road.

There are issues with the system of school governance, which are more worrying still with a move to academy status on the horizon. I can't think of one which is adequately addressed by ditching parent governors altogether.

ReallyTired Fri 18-Mar-16 11:38:42

I think that a different way has to be found of giving parents power. At the moment parent governors have had the power to sack the head and bring about real change. This can be a good power when the head is failing to do their job, but dangerous in the case of the Trojan horse schools.

There is a way that parents should be able to force a change of academy provider if they are unhappy with the education of their children. It should not wait ten years for the next OFSTED inspection because the the school was marked as "outstanding" three years ago. There needs to be way of bringing about change when things have gone badly wrong. There needs to be a more robust complaints proceedure with an external body.

YesterdayOnceMore Fri 18-Mar-16 11:40:50

The way I see it, as a lay person (a parent, not a governor), is that by ensuring the governing body has parents of children within that school in it, you protect the school. Nobody is going to make a decision which will be bad for their own children.

And that will be taken away and governing bodies, made up of those with "the right skills" and wholly appointed from within the same governing body will now be running schools as non-profit making businesses...

If parent governors don't have the skills, they can be taught them. But personally, I think the best skill any governor could ever has is the desire to to the best by the children in the school.

Bogburglar99 Fri 18-Mar-16 11:48:00

The governing body can't sack the Head, we don't employ her. The local authority does oh hang on a minute

The governing body as a whole, which includes parents, can and does appoint and performance manage the Head. And bringing about real change, if needed, is what you hope it's there for.

I actually completely agree with you in questioning whether this power should be in the hands of volunteers who are either elected by an often rather disinterested constituency, or appointed on the say so of the Chair.

You could just as easily get a Trojan Horse situation if the chair of the academy trust decides to pack the board with appointees. Possibly more easily.

The system needs work - whether parents sit on governing bodies or not isn't going to fix it, and removing a route for parents to show commitment and involvement in their child's school is not the answer.

planetarium Wed 23-Mar-16 12:31:40

Most news stories on this issue seem to be mis-reporting the White Paper. What it actually says is this:

"3.30. We will expect all governing boards to focus on seeking people with the right skills for governance, and so we will no longer require academy trusts to reserve places for elected parents on governing boards. We will offer this freedom to all open and new academies, and as we move towards a system where every school is an academy, fully skills-based governance will become the norm across the education system.
3.31. Parents often have these skills and many parents already play a valuable role in governance – and will always be encouraged to serve on governing boards. We will also expect every academy to put in place arrangements for meaningful engagement with all parents, to listen to their views and feedback."

That bit I've put in bold is being widely ignored - which is a bit unfair don't you think?

I read it as parents can be governors if they have the appropriate skills (and if they don't they will still have a voice in any case). I'm no fan of Nicky Morgan but I think this is a good change because a lot of people are put off applying to be governors by the playground-election approach. Instead schools will need to be upfront about what skills they are looking for to complete their governing body, and parents should be able to apply along with others. I think many will be more likely to apply if they know they have the specific skills that are being asked for.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Wed 23-Mar-16 12:48:35

We have one parent governor 2 form entry R-Y6

He has children in school never around at pick ups wheeled out at prize giving. His DC are in my DC class where the behaviour is appalling that the Gov has said "I wrote off last year and this year for my DC education"

It's disgraceful -

TeacupsandFigs Tue 29-Mar-16 17:30:32

The skills needed can probably be whatever a school wants them to be, that's dangerous in the circumstances of a 'trojan school' or a school where the head wants 'yes men/women' on the board of governors.

Still, I think it's an improvement on the parent governors being the most popular parents in the playground.

finallydelurking Tue 29-Mar-16 17:38:45

Fully skilled based governance is a bloody good idea! While I have encountered some very, very good and dedicated parent governors there are too many of the type who get themselves elected by their cronies to push their own agenda that has nothing to do with the role of governor and then cause damage.

wheelofapps Wed 30-Mar-16 21:26:36

Lack of Parent Governors is a bad idea.

We don't have them in Scotland and I have seen two schools where the Head has total power (over what is taught, what classroom time is used for) down to who wins School Prizes.
In one of the Schools the Head was so out of control it was like something from a bad movie.
Unless the LA was prepared to do something there was nothing to be done.
No PG to apply any pressure.

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