Majority Of Governors Should Resign Says Former School Board Member

The Five Islands School

The Five Islands School

A former governor of the Five Islands School has called for the resignation of the majority of the current governing body.

Helen Glenn, who resigned in July, has made the call following the statement last week by the Department for Education, which confirmed that both the school governing body and Council broke education law.

Helen says it’s not appropriate for anyone who was a member of the governing body when those regulations were broken to remain in position.

That includes all but four of the current governors who were appointed after July last year.

She’s written to all councillors and the Diocese of Truro to ask them to remove their own appointed governors from the board and appoint new ones.

Helen says regulations mean that any parent-elected governors can’t be dismissed until they’ve served their term, but this doesn’t apply to those appointed by the local authority or diocese.

Several governors spoke out against the breaches in regulations, she says, but they were unsuccessful in changing the decisions of the governing body so need to take responsibility for that by resigning too.

The governors voted in July to reconstitute their own board to include fewer members.

They also want to bring in people with more relevant skills.

This was a direct result of recommendations in the DfE’s interim report issued in March.

Helen says this would be a good chance for the governors to resign and warns that the DfE could take over if there isn’t enough change on the governing body.

She says the four governors who had nothing to do with the events last year would provide continuity.

And she feels there should be more mainland expertise brought in, although there are people on the islands with the relevant knowledge and skills needed, she says.

We asked both the Diocese and the Council what investigations they were making into the breaches of education law and what action they would be taking against any of their officers, members or appointees who were found to have been party to them.

David Watson from the Diocese of Truro said they had not received a copy of the letters issued by the DfE to the Council and governors, or the report, so couldn’t answer specific questions at this time.

He added that they’re looking forward to being informed of what steps are being taken by the Local Authority and Governors during the next few critical months to ensure that there is no repetition of the mistakes made last year.

He also hoped the Diocese will be invited to be involved closely in moving the DfE recommendations forward and working with the new head teacher.

The Council’s Communications Officer, George Pearson, said they’re is still considering the letter sent to the Chief Executive from the DfE, and a report will be brought to members in due course.

Most of the education law breaches concerned the procedures for meetings and the suspension of the former head, Bryce Wilby.

The DfE says some governors should have been kept out of discussions so they were free to assess an appeal if there had been one and they say Mr Wilby wasn’t told why he had been suspended or offered an early chance to respond to allegations, when he should have been.

Governors who were school staff should have left meetings when his case was discussed and the two Council directors who attended the meetings should also have declared an interest.

The DfE found that the investigation was initiated by the Council and, because of its serious nature, they would have expected them to work with the school and to bring in outside expertise.

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