Governors must take rap for fraud

19th September 2003 at 01:00
I read accounts of Colleen McCabe's (the head who stole pound;500,000 from St John Rigby school, Bromley) capers in a number of newspapers, including The TES, but was surprised at how little blame seems to be levelled at the governors.

Governors of any school (not just former grant-maintained or foundation schools) should be held far more accountable as individuals, not just as a corporate body. Maybe then they would be motivated to ensure they carried out their role effectively rather than "dabbling" in a good-natured way.

I think this sorry case illustrates how many governors are unaware of their role or the powers they have. They should be putting in place systems to ensure things such as financial mismanagement or abuse of staff's good nature do not happen.

Unfortunately too many governors do not understand their role fully and can hide behind corporate responsibility to protect themselves from personal accountability when things get rough... Hence no "punishment" for the governing body that failed to make the head accountable at St John Rigby!

If governors were more personally accountable, they would consider their role more seriously and realise in advance of taking it how challenging and demanding the job is.

Being a governor is more than an extension of joining the parent-teacher association or getting involved in your own child's schooling. Yet how many governors get enticed this way?

Maybe it is time to pay governors or tie them to a contract and compulsory training so that situations such as happened at St John Rigby do not occur again.

Name and address supplied

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today