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Ministers rethink governor reform

The Government is to rethink its governor reforms, after Education Secretary David Blunkett conceded it may not have got it right.

A taskforce led by schools minister Jacqui Smith will look again at proposals after some of the plans got a hostile response.

Plans to reduce governors' involvement in staffing and personnel matters and to allow schools to group under one governing body were particularly unpopular with governor organisations and teaching unions.

The Department for Education and Employment has received more than 5,000 responses to its consultation document, more than two-thirds from individual governors and governing bodies.

Mr Blunkett, speaking at a conference for Doncaster and Sheffield governors, was applauded when he said: "We're not entirely sure we've quite got it right.

"We've tried to get the balace right between pressure and support, to indicate that there may be ways of slimming down the paperwork and demands that are made on governors. We may have overslimmed it and not hit the right buttons.

"It's not very often that governments, particularly before a general election, say they might not have got something right, but it's a genuine consultation."

Churches will be represented on the working group, but not the classroom unions.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "We should be on this taskforce because teachers are affected by governing bodies more than anyone else."

But the taskforce was welcomed by governor organisations. John Adams, the chairman of the National Association of Governors and Managers, said it was a good idea.

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