26 Aug Twelve School Governors Dismissed by London Council
Cabinet minister Jack Straw’s son Will is amongst the 12 school governors who have been dismissed by Lambeth council, over financial management and teaching standards at their school. The headteacher has apparently also been suspended.
Mr Straw’s involvement has, of course, drawn media attention to the case but how councils work with governors (and vice versa) is something that should be on the radar of anyone involved in education.
As you might expect, there are two sides to this story:
The Lambeth councillor in charge of education was quoted in the Evening Standard, as saying: “Officers found that the standard of education was falling year on year. The governors didn’t respond appropriately and we exercised our legal right to replace them.”
But local MP Kate Hoey said: “I feel that he [the headteacher] has not been treated in a way that would generally be considered to be justified and when the governors supported him, they got rid of them.”
A governor’s first responsibility is to the school and its pupils; and the council surely have the same motivations. Without knowing the details we won’t hazard a comment on this particular case but there is an important question here:
When things do go wrong, how far should governors go in supporting the head and teachers before they start pushing for changes?