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Friday, September 17th, 2010

A Question of Governance

Students at schoolThe debate about ‘The Future of Solihull Community Schools’ that is taking place in the Council Chamber on Wednesday 22 September reflects widespread concern in our community about the haste and lack of consultation with which some of our schools are considering transition to Academy status. There are fears that two schools, Arden and Tudor Grange, have already decided irrevocably to make this conversion.

SUSTAiN has been made aware that consultation has hitherto been cursory, which is disappointing when this new Academy programme is being championed by the Government which wishes to give the people more say in a Big Society.

It is also a fundamental question of Governance. The decision takers here are school Governors. Each school Governing Board comprises representatives of the staff, representatives of the parents and representatives of the community. How can Governors represent effectively in their decision taking if they do not consult the views of those who they represent?

SUSTAiN has been made aware of other concerns. One of the community groups in our Third Sector Network has reported difficulties in finding out who is on the Board of Governors of the school in its area. Another has reported correspondence to the Chair of Governors being responded to by Head Teacher. Both of these reports lead to questions about how well schools are being governed.

We are on the leading edge of a time of great change that will affect us all. It is imperative that changes which will inevitably happen quickly are well managed and appropritely managed at all levels.