Struggle for a grip on governance as academy status beckons

18th June 2010 at 01:00

No one could defend governors who bully staff, and no doubt there are governors who overstep their responsibilities. ("I suffered at my governor's hands" and "Ways to loosen a governor's grip", Letters, June 4 and 11, respectively). But there is another side to this. There are "rogue" heads just as there are "rogue" governors. Although my personal experience of working with several heads has been good, I know there are those who trespass on the role of governors - and in some cases this may amount to bullying.

Unfortunately, heads are too often encouraged to assume the responsibilities of governors by, among others, local authority staff, teacher unions, politicians of all parties, even journalists, as shown by many references to heads doing this or deciding that when those are matters for governors.

The most recent example is the reporting of academies, so much of which is in terms of what heads want to do. This is perhaps no surprise when the Education Secretary could not be bothered to write to chairs of governors about such a fundamental matter as the potential change of status of a school, a decision which is theirs and not a head's. No wonder governors feel marginalised.

So can we please have a better understanding of, and respect for, the proper relationship between heads and governors right across the board, which recognises that although many of us work hard to get it right, there are those who get it wrong, and some who abuse it.

Michael Sanderson, Chair of governors, Elsecar, Barnsley.

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