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Should a governor have to stand down if they choose to send one of their children to a different school?

(28 Posts)
pickledsiblings Tue 10-Nov-15 19:58:43

The county I live in is moving from 3 tier (middle schools) to 2 tier. Children currently in Y4 can choose to stay on at their primary school for Yrs 5 & 6 or they can opt to go to a middle school (Academy).

One of our governors is choosing to send their DC to a middle school rather than keep them at the primary school of which we are governors. The chair thinks said governor should resign: I disagree.

I would be interested to hear what other governors/teachers/parents think.

Thank you.

ilovesooty Tue 10-Nov-15 20:01:56

The Chair of the governing body at my last hell hole school chose to send his daughter elsewhere.

HarryLimeFoxtrot Tue 10-Nov-15 20:04:03

They currently have a child at the school, so I see no problem with them remaining as a governor (regardless of their choice of school for the next academic year).

Beyond that I think it depends on the situation.

Are they a parent governor? If so, will they still have a child at the school in September 2016?

Bubbletree4 Tue 10-Nov-15 20:04:16

A govenor at our school has one dc at our school and also dc at another school. Nobody has ever thought to give a shit.

LimitedSedition Tue 10-Nov-15 20:06:28

My mum was a parent governor at my school for 25 years. Needless to say, I wasn't in attendance all that time!

BackforGood Tue 10-Nov-15 20:07:49

Depends - were they elected for a fixed term?
Not all governors have to be parents. I know many schools where the governing body would welcome with open arms anyone who is literate enough and reliable enough and willing to continue on the Governing body, even if they don't have dc at the school. OTOH, if it is one of those schools where there are parents queuing up to be on the GB, then it would seem more sensible to be the parent of a child who is there.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Tue 10-Nov-15 20:08:18

DH stayed as a governor at the school we pulled DD out of to HE smile
He did offer to stand down but the Chair wouldn't let him

EmmaGellerGreen Tue 10-Nov-15 20:12:20

Personally, I don't think there is a need to resign but I would check the school's document and speak to the national governor helpline.

DontCallMeBaby Tue 10-Nov-15 20:15:56

It's utterly ludicrous to suggest a governor should resign under those circumstances. If a parent governor was taking their only child out of the school to home ed/go private/go elsewhere, and was stalking around the playground informing all comers they were doing it because the school was crap - yes, they should go. But when there's an equally weighted choice of two options, neither of which (necessarily) implies anything bad about the school, it's immaterial that they send the child elsewhere.

Chrisinthemorning Tue 10-Nov-15 20:16:33

DH is a foundation governor (CofE school). DS is only 3 so not at school yet. DS won't be going to that school as we have decided to send him to an independent school. Not sure why it should make any difference.

Bogburglar99 Tue 10-Nov-15 20:25:16

Okay, I am a parent governor. Two reasons for governor being asked to stand down - 1) they are no longer a parent of a child at the school and/or 2) it might be thought that the decision to send DC elsewhere conveys a lack of confidence in the school.

1) is potentially an issue if they were elected as a parent governor. However I believe parent governors are elected for a fixed term, and once elected you can serve out that fixed term whatever your parent status.
If governor is committed and wishes to continue they could also resign as a parent governor (either now or at end of fixed term), but be co-opted onto the governing body in a different capacity. For instance, we have two very good 'ex' parent governors who after their DC have left, continued to serve as co opted governors. It's good practice to have a healthy mix of parents, non parents and 'ex parents' on your GB as it gives a range of perspectives.

Reason 2) I think would be rather petty. You might ask questions if the governor had removed their child because of a serious difference of opinion with the school, but here it sounds like parents had two perfectly reasonable options and picked the one that best suited their DC.
Will the school have to continue to compete with the new middle school, or is the whole system in transition and school will convert to an infants? If the latter, governor might be well placed to think through how school can make the transition and support kids moving to middle school.

Hope that essay helps!

pickledsiblings Tue 10-Nov-15 21:53:38

Thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts. The governor is co-opted and has just started a second term.

Bogburglar your reason 2 is closest to what our chair thinks.

The school is in competition with 2 middle schools. Previously children transferred from our school to middle school for Y5 and that was the only option. Our school has now been extended to accommodate Y5 & 6 and the majority of DC will stay on - it is 'outstanding' and v. popular. However, because some middle schools chose not to close and become part of an 'all-through' academy chain, there is a choice.

Governor in question had an excellent middle school experience and wants the same for their DC - this is entirely understandable imo.

Chair's point is that we as a governing body agreed to commit ourselves to the 2 tier system and this governors actions contravene this. I disagree. The governor's actions are for personal reasons and said governor agrees that going 2 tier was/is absolutely right for our school.

I will be speaking with the chair again tomorrow and I'd like to make a case for this governor to be allowed to stay on although the governor in question will probably leave. Am I just wasting my time? I suppose I could give the governor helpline a call.

pickledsiblings Tue 10-Nov-15 23:18:54

…another thing the chair said was 'imagine if a governor at one of the middle schools got wind of the fact that one of our governors sent their DC there' and how that really wouldn't put us in a good light (or something along those lines).

I don't think we should concern ourselves with such things. Should we?

Mishaps Tue 10-Nov-15 23:22:05

If this governor is a parent governor then he/she needs to alter their designation to community governor. It is simple to do. If he/she is not a parent governor then there is no reason for any change at all. No problem there.

pickledsiblings Tue 10-Nov-15 23:30:02

Governor is co-opted according to new regs. Also will still have a DC at the school when other leaves.

HarryLimeFoxtrot Wed 11-Nov-15 07:35:41

I thought the chair was being unreasonable before - now I'm certain. The governor has decided to take one of the legitimate choices open to them (middle school for Y4 DC next year), they have a DC remaining at the lower/primary school. Why on earth should they be forced to resign?! They are making the best choice for their child within the existing system - I hardly think that can be classed as an attack on the new two-tier system hmm

BTW - we have been switching to a two-tier system here (Bedford) since DD was in Y5 (and it was talked about for several years before that). Her year had to go to middle school - the year below could opt to stay for Y5/6. She's now in Y7 and we're still in transition (her lower is now a primary, but there is no secondary for the current Y6 children to go to - they will have to go to middle school for 2 years). It is all such a mess.

pickledsiblings Wed 11-Nov-15 08:38:15

Harry thanks for that. It's such a mess here too.

Bogburglar99 Wed 11-Nov-15 09:15:14

Completely agree. Do you know what the governor actually wants to do? I ask only because we kept on a parent governor after his child left the school (house move, nothing sinister), but actually he didn't turn up to any meetings and his heart wasn't in it. So perhaps worth checking that their wish would be to stay on.

Providing it is, I see no reason why they shouldn't. As a governor he/she is responsible for the strategic direction of the school and the important task of helping it convert to a through primary - won't be easy. As a parent he/she is responsible for making the best decision for their DC right now, and if that's middle school so be it.

I am not sure whether CoG can just request a resignation without showing good reason and/or a vote of governors. That might be worth checking out with the helpline.

Bogburglar99 Wed 11-Nov-15 09:17:38

It's actually very important if you are a governor and a parent to separate the two at times. The best decision for the school may not be exactly the best decision for your child and when you are sitting on the governing body it's the school as a whole that counts.

Just for once the boot is on the other foot here, but it's the same principle.

Bogburglar99 Wed 11-Nov-15 09:22:32

P.19 of the governing body guidance:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/459032/The_Constitution_of_Governing_Bodies_of_Maintained_Schools_Stat_Guidance....pdf

You can remove a co opted governor but you have to table and vote on it at a GB meeting. He/she can of course resign voluntarily but putting him/her under pressure to do so is wrong.

VeryPunny Wed 11-Nov-15 09:27:05

You're not near the Beds/Cambs border are you? Heard something v. similar on the govenor grapevine - I'm a govenor near there.

It's a tricky one - as govenors, we act as a whole, and once we've made a decision we must abide by it - if the Govenors decide to do something you don't agree with, then once the decision is made, no matter what your opinion was before the decision you should support it. But when that contravenes what you want for your child, I'm not sure what you should expect.

In this case, if I were the Govenor I would step down. They clearly don't have the confidence to keep their child through the new Y5/6 system at their existing school.

Poledra Wed 11-Nov-15 09:28:52

I am a co-opted governor who was a parent governor (though I still have children at the school). When we last looked for new governors, we actually sought people who did not have children at the school, as we felt that we were weighted very heavily towards governors who happened to have children at the school and we wanted more independent folks. One of our governors does not even have children - that doesn't mean she's not a damn good governor! We also have someone who is a governor at another school as well as ours - it's great as we can get another perspective on things from him.

Chair is being unreasonable, especially since the person is question has made a reasonable decision for their child and still has another child in your school.

PatriciaHolm Wed 11-Nov-15 09:37:10

Chair is being unreasonable. The post of governor explicitly requires separation of what is good for you and yours and what is good for the school. You have to be able to separate the two otherwise you are not an effective governor. It could easily be the case that the school in question doesn't suit a specific child even though it is a fantastic school in many ways.

If the governor in question is explicitly badmouthing the school then that is a different matter. If they have simply quietly moved the child at a normal admissions juncture, then that is no business of the Chair.

Ladymuck Wed 11-Nov-15 13:27:23

Our chair has put his youngest son into the closest competing school. He's still the best candidate for chair at present.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 11-Nov-15 13:33:43

Your chair is being wildly unprofessional and needs to learn the boundaries between personal and public decision-making and accountability. This would really worry me, they sound unsuited to their role.

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