Parents of academies barred from standing for election on Lincoln County Council Children and Young People scrutiny Committee

Alan's picture
by Alan
 4
Education Secretary Michael Gove said academy status would improve standards at some of the poorest schools, then he went on to infuriate his critics by describing those opposed to academies as "ideologues happy with failure". It now seems he is avoiding criticism altogether by removing the rights of parent governors in academies to participate on education scrutiny committees at local authority level by failing to amend out-of-date legislation. It appears Lincolnshire County Council are not siding with either party, but have said we can rest assured that there are councillors on such committees able to provide effective scrutiny.

As a parent governor of an academy in one of the most deprived coastal areas of Lincolnshire I have avoided the anti-academies argument, focusing instead on my job, which is to ensure that there is funding and provision to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and to ensure the smooth running of our Academy. Our Academy is rated as outstanding, students have achieved floor targets year-on-year. However, we are operating against a backdrop of deprivation that is no longer factored-in to league tables by the DfE, and with a drive for 50% floor-targets A*-C GCSE's by 2015 the situation is set to become more stressful. To try to circumvent some of our contextual issues I set up a community group for working with families, the idea being, if we can support early childhood development then everyone will benefit, in other words, children will be better prepared to learn.

To further my aims, in 2011 I requested a place on the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee at Lincolnshire County Council. I was told that co-options wouldn’t be taking place, that there would be elections for three parent governor vacancies as soon as it was known how many schools had converted to academy status to ensure fair representation across schools and academies.

It transpired last week that letters for elections have only been sent to parent governors of state-maintained schools due to The Parent Governor Representative (England) Regulations 2001 ruling that only parent governors of maintained schools which are maintained by the local authority may be elected to education scrutiny committees.

So it would seem that Mr Gove not only wants schools to be free of local authority control, his department now wants to prevent reconnection through parent governor representation.

The question should now be asked why Lincolnshire County Council isn’t raising this issue with the DfE if they want to encourage parent participation from all areas of the county; they are, after all, encouraging countywide academy conversions.

The council should have sent out letters to all parent governors of maintained schools to notify of vacancies, so I would urge those in deprived areas of Lincolnshire to stand for election so that children’s issues are heard.

Haven't received a letter, contact Democratic Services Lincoln T: 01522 552083
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Comments

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 27/01/2012 - 17:43

I think parents and grandparents in Lincolnshire - and I am one - are beginning to despair of the incompetence of Lincolnshire County Council. Not only is it trying to wash its hands of responsibility for all its schools by suggesting they become academies, preferably under the wing of the CfBT Education Trust, but now it appears from what you have said that it is preventing parents of children in academies from being on the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.

If all Lincolnshire schools become academies, then where does this leave the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee? Will there be no parental input at all? Or will the Committee disband? Is there a statutory duty to have one? If so, what body would organise it? The CfBT Trust or similar?

Does anyone in Lincolnshire actually know?

Alan's picture
Fri, 27/01/2012 - 23:50

Once all schools have become academies committee members will be councillors, faith and CfBT: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/local-democracy/how-the-council-works/ove...

Lilly's picture
Fri, 27/01/2012 - 18:45

I have heard that schools in Lincs have been told that they essentially need to convert because it has no more money to run schools.....

Janet Downs's picture
Sat, 28/01/2012 - 10:15

Lilly - if you follow the link on the right to "Lincolnshire advises all its schools to become academies - but parents not consulted" you'll find further information about the state of affairs in Lincolnshire. There's also information about the Lincolnshire campaign below:

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/11/lincolnshire-update/

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