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Barring governors & British Values – Nicky Morgan before the Education Committee

Nicky Morgan before the Education Committee

Barring governors & British Values – Nicky Morgan before the Education Committee

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Yesterday the Secretary of State Nicky Morgan appeared before the House of Commons’ Education Committee, which following the departure of Graham Stuart MP is under the chairmanship of Neil Carmichael MP, who has featured before in these pages due to his commitment to good governance. Among discussions on careers advice, post-16 education, adoption and fair funding for schools, the topic of preventing extremism and in particular British Values was raised by committee member Suella Fernandes MP. This led the chair to ask about the role of governors in preventing extremism in schools, and Nicky Morgan touched on the recent news that for the first time the DfE has issued a ban on an individual having a role in taking part in the management of schools – effectively a bar on being a governor. You can watch this section of the Committee’s session here:

There are a few interesting points which can be observed in this exchange in a wider context:

  • as we know, good or outstanding schools won’t be inspected by Ofsted for three years (under the new inspection framework) as often as those which have been judged as being in a category.
  • in such schools, as Neil Carmichael implies, the role of governors is critical in being aware of any issues around intolerance, radicalisation and extremism;
  • Nicky Morgan is very clear that governors have responsibilities in this area – in outstanding schools;
  • She isn’t currently prepared to disclose who, if anyone, is on her hit list.


Of course, a complication to this is that at the time of an Ofsted inspection in 2012 (PDF), when the chair of governors was the same individual referred to by Mrs Morgan, a rating of Outstanding meant that under the current Ofsted framework the school would not have required inspection for three years. The issue gets complicated – when not disagreeing over the Trojan Horse affair the Committee & Ofsted would no doubt argue that today, under the current inspection guidelines, no school in similar circumstance would have been rated as outstanding, therefore this wouldn’t apply. However there are a number of questions unanswered around schools and academies which are free from inspection for a number of years, and it can be assumed that governors in such schools could be expected by the DfE to be aware of and have an understanding of the issues around radicalisation. You can read our series of posts on Prevent for wider thoughts on the issue.

SMSC and British values for governors
The home screen of the forthcoming Modern Governor SMSC module

The home screen of the forthcoming Modern Governor SMSC module

Here at Modern Governor we’re shortly going to be releasing our new module on SMSC for governors, incorporating British Values, to Modern Governor subscribers to further extend our range of e-learning modules to support governors’ professional development. It’s a fully mobile-friendly module with challenging and thought-provoking content to help governors think about the often elusive and ill-defined areas of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development in terms of governance. You can trial of some of our smartphone- and tablet-friendly modules free for thirty days – start your trial now and the SMSC module will be available to subscribers before your trial is over.

Footnote: get involved with the Education Committee as a governor

In an almost throwaway comment during the Education Committee’s session, Neil Carmichael said that some of the questions the committee would be addressing would come from social media – so if you want to get involved as a governor, then read our post on getting involved in social media as a governor and then follow the Education Committee on Twitter.

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