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School Governors – Ability or Nepotism?
BBW
#1 Posted : 13 March 2009 14:49:55(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 36
How are school governors for voluntary aided schools selected?

What are the criteria used during the selection process?

Do they have to have any qualifications?

Does the council have any say in the appointment process?

Are the governors chosen on ability or is it because their face fits?

Does anybody have any answers?


redimanager
#2 Posted : 13 March 2009 16:34:19(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/12/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,303
Dear BBW,

Voluntary aided school governing bodies have the following categories of governors: LA governors (normally 1 or 2 places appointed by the local authority), parent governors (elected by parental ballot), staff governors (elected by the staff), sponsor governors and foundation governors (appointed by the appropriate diocese, Jewish board of education or other sponsor body). The majority of governor places on voluntary aided schools are foundation governors.

The appointment process used by the local authority to LA governor positions is the same for all Redbridge schools and is on the merit of the application submitted, availability of places, experience etc. These criteria were agreed by Cabinet in 2006 for appointments to LA governor vacancies. The council does not have any say in the appointments made to the other categories.

Anyone wishing to apply can do so by submitting an application to be appointed as an LA governor in Redbridge using the form available on the schools governors page of Redbridge i. This is a link to that page - http://www.redbridge.gov...ors/apply_governor.aspx

Response posted on behalf of Education – Governor Services
BryanDicker
#5 Posted : 13 March 2009 21:41:56(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 16/09/2007(UTC)
Posts: 874
The question of the thread is ability... Am I right to presume that school governors are invited to training sessions to aid, especially parent, governors to fulfill their roles?

I think it is the same all over the UK (but obviously amended to suit individual schools) there is a development and Improvement plan with a list of targets that Governors monitor in cooperation with the teaching staff ensuring that there is evidence of good practice in the different subject areas.

As a parent governor, I know it is not the case of one meeting per term. I have Link Governor meetings, Governor meetings and the different committee's. Worth while job though.
BBW
#3 Posted : 16 March 2009 11:30:50(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 36
redimanager wrote:
Dear BBW,

Voluntary aided school governing bodies have the following categories of governors: LA governors (normally 1 or 2 places appointed by the local authority), parent governors (elected by parental ballot), staff governors (elected by the staff), sponsor governors and foundation governors (appointed by the appropriate diocese, Jewish board of education or other sponsor body). The majority of governor places on voluntary aided schools are foundation governors.

The appointment process used by the local authority to LA governor positions is the same for all Redbridge schools and is on the merit of the application submitted, availability of places, experience etc. These criteria were agreed by Cabinet in 2006 for appointments to LA governor vacancies. The council does not have any say in the appointments made to the other categories.

Anyone wishing to apply can do so by submitting an application to be appointed as an LA governor in Redbridge using the form available on the schools governors page of Redbridge i. This is a link to that page - http://www.redbridge.gov...ors/apply_governor.aspx

Response posted on behalf of Education – Governor Services


Thank you for your comprehensive reply, however am I right in assuming that the only difference between a Voluntary Aided school and a State school if the fact that Voluntary Aided schools have to raise 15% for building projects?

If this is the case and that state provides 100% of the teaching budget and 85% of improvements, surely the state should have more than 1 or 2 places on the governing body?

If not they should at least have final approval of "religious" appointments!

Does this mean that the state is sponsoring the already wealthy churches?


redimanager
#6 Posted : 16 March 2009 14:44:51(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/12/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,303
Hello,

All VA schools receive a revenue budget that is calculated in the same way for all schools in Redbridge. When a VA school wishes to undertake capital works it is required to raise 10% (not 15%) of the cost of those works. On the issue of the balance of representation on VA governing bodies this is a matter for Parliament and the government.

Regards,

Educational Services.

etoc2001
#7 Posted : 18 March 2009 11:49:08(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 06/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 232
Maybe we could start a campaign?
KingRat
#8 Posted : 30 March 2009 15:45:58(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 09/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 122
Is it possible to get a Governor removed if they are incompetent?
QueenoftheSouth
#10 Posted : 01 April 2009 14:02:17(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 13/12/2008(UTC)
Posts: 31
Does anyone know the methodology by which Foundation Governors are chosen in the first place? I would imagine one should have the necessary skills and would be brought on board to complement the existing governing body. Are candidates interviewed by the head of the school? Is the appointment process transparent and open to scrutiny?
etoc2001
#11 Posted : 01 April 2009 14:57:15(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 06/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 232
My understanding is that Foundation Governors are chosen according to the parameters of the appointing body/person. In a good case this would be based on experience, willingness to learn and ability to commit to the program for anything up to four or six years as time is needed to bed into the role and develop the skills required. In a bad case cronys of the appointer are foisted on the Head and simply act as placemen/women for the duration delivering a bloc vote in favour of whatever the appointer wants. Value for money? Who knows but it is our tax money that they are spending...
etoc2001
#12 Posted : 27 August 2009 15:52:30(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 06/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 232
I think I now know what BBW is referring to - I was told last night about a local school where a foundation governor has been appointed whose only experience of life is apparantly a saturday job and working in dad's office. If this person [who shall remain nameless because I don't believe that he/she is to blame for this situation] has been appointed 'in good faith' then well and good - time will tell if it possible to grow a governor from scratch - but if this appointment was cynically made just to secure one more vote then it is certain that the school will suffer and nobody should take joy in that.
BryanDicker
#9 Posted : 31 August 2009 09:49:30(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 16/09/2007(UTC)
Posts: 874
KingRat wrote:
Is it possible to get a Governor removed if they are incompetent?


There is a process the board of Governors use if there is a case of misconduct or where the Governor is not supporting the school. You can contact the Council and speak to the Governor support, or their complaints department.
ruetheday
#13 Posted : 29 September 2009 21:15:37(UTC)
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 29/09/2009(UTC)
Posts: 6
Hopefully the person has been appointed because they have skills or talents which they can bring to the school. Nepotism is a dangerous thing because it can breed a multitude of problems.

For most public organisations you have to declare relationships with people in authority, e.g. councillors, senior officers in a Local Authority. Not sure if this is the case with Voluntary aided schools? Otherwise you could end up in the ridiculous position where relatives, friends and wives of those in charge, either in the teaching or governing staff being offered jobs. Who monitors this sort of thing. Is it the Local Authority, the government or someone else. What protection do a school and parents have in this situation? - I think if that were to happen it would be as bad as or worse than if the governor was appointed in what you have outlined.
BryanDicker
#14 Posted : 30 September 2009 11:17:49(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 16/09/2007(UTC)
Posts: 874
There are different forms to fill in for applying for governorship, sent to the LA. there is a form for such declaration.
etoc2001
#15 Posted : 01 October 2009 16:15:45(UTC)
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Joined: 06/11/2008(UTC)
Posts: 232
Can we request copies of these under FOI?
foi
#16 Posted : 02 October 2009 10:30:18(UTC)
Rank: Member

Joined: 19/11/2007(UTC)
Posts: 10
Hi - The answer is that yes they can be requested under the FOI Act, but unless they are publically available for inspection anyway (which I believe they are not) or the person concerned consents they are likely to be exempt on the basis that they relate to personal information of a 3rd party, the disclosure of which would breach one of the DPA principles.
ruetheday
#17 Posted : 03 October 2009 22:25:54(UTC)
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 29/09/2009(UTC)
Posts: 6
Thanks FOI - this does raise an important point though on the running of publicly funded bodies - in this case Voluntary aided schools and their accountability to those who fund them . It seems if Governors can be appointed by the body running )e.g. church) there is a real risk that if nepotism is introduced it feed through to all parts of the school. I can think of two examples of VA schools where it seems every member of a family (where someone is involved in running a school) has been given a job there and in another where if you are a friend or family member of another individual it is the only way to get a job. The LEA (apologies if the wrong term) seem to have no control on these schools - is it central government who monitor this sort of thing - if so they must surely be too remote. Some appear top become personal fiefdoms for the people running them, on either the governing body or

Perhaps the independence of these schools and how they are run should be more closely monitored to avoid the risk of nepotism (imagine if a group involved had rascist tendencies - doesn't bear thinking about - both childen and non white staff would suffer if that were to happen) - or maybe these semi indpendent schools should be done away with - but that's probably a separate topic.

A question for the council - what role does the council have in running this (VA) and foundation type schools? - do they audit them , or are they treated as semi independent quangos, taking money and answering only to a distant and remote central government body? Who ensures that the schools (or their governing bodies) comply with their legal responsibilities - doesn't seem to be OFSted - perhaps it should be?

What role does the council take to ensure that policies these schools introduce are monitored and comply with best practice and legal responsibilities. Comparing Redbridge to other Local Authorities (essex as an example) there is very little challenge to admission arrangements which may not meet the schools admission code - and there appear to be some blatant examples of non maintained LA schools - where the code is not being adhered to.
redimanager
#18 Posted : 06 October 2009 13:34:35(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/12/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,303
Hello, your questions to us have been forwarded to the relevant Council service area officers.

Regards,
Redimanager. :)
redimanager
#19 Posted : 07 October 2009 15:13:27(UTC)
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 12/12/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,303
Hello,

The relationship between the Local Authority and VA and foundation schools is complicated, detailed and legislation gives responsibilities for ensuring schools compliance to different bodies (not just the LA) depending on the area of concern.
For example the LA has responsibility for challenging schools on academic achievement, whilst Ofsted inspects and makes judgements on school provision. The LA also has certain monitoring functions, e.g. monitoring compliance with safeguarding arrangements.

With regard to funding the LA sets the framework for funding schools however the governing body has been delegated a very large degree of management responsibility for the running of their schools. The LA will have some audit and monitoring functions for school budgets.

With regard to admissions arrangements for VA and Foundation schools the governing body as the admissions authority is responsible for these arrangements and has to carry out annual statutory consultation on its admissions arrangements.
The LA is one of the statutory consultees and has to be consulted on any proposed admission policy changes. The LA is responsible for reporting any issues of legal non-compliance to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator. The Schools Adjudicator has the role of investigating breeches of the admissions code and, through an annual report presented to it by the LA, monitoring fair access and inclusion.


Redimanager on behalf of Senior Education Services Manager.
ruetheday
#20 Posted : 07 October 2009 20:52:37(UTC)
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 29/09/2009(UTC)
Posts: 6
Dear Redimanager,

thank you for such a quick response. It does appear that the governance arrangements of these schools are multifaceted and complex.

It is clear on the schools adjudicator site that Redbridge raises few or any objections to admissions codes used by schools in Redbridge. I undertook a brief piece of research on one school , highly successful "outstanding " VA school in the north of the borough. Based on information from the dcsf website on complements of students, it showed a startling discrepnancy in the level and number of children with SEN/School Action Plus/School action at the school in comparison with neighbouring schools. Using a 2 mile search radius, (and excluding the nearby grammar school), it showed the total number of children not just less numerically than neighbouring schools, but around 60-70% lower - the average in other schools in the locality was in the region of 15% - this school was around 5%.

That in itself may not be a concern - but coupled with the fact that the school has 9 separate catchment areas in it's oversubsription criteria, uses distance within each area to further distinguish children applying to the school. the schools admission code does state that inner and outer catchment areas can be used - but 9!!

And in addition the school does not publish an EIA (requirement I believe when reviewing or introducing policies).

I use this as an example, as it appears relatively clear that the semi autonomous schools operate without any form of control. Although I did not witness this I heard that in an open evening speech the head made reference to first preference first - although that is hearsay.

Benedict
#21 Posted : 09 October 2009 11:14:27(UTC)
Rank: Member

Joined: 06/01/2009(UTC)
Posts: 18
Sounds to me like somebody is trying to kill off this thread with jargon, fine detail and bureaucracy...Hmmm..who could have a vested interest in doing that?
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