Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Monday, 11 February 2013

Education Strategy, part 3

This evening was the third session of the Education Overview and Scrutiny Committee, which is really a task and finnish group. After the low turnout at the last session, I'm glad to say we were a full house. I attended out of interest rather than as a member, but was kindly allowed to sit at the table and ask questions by the gracious chair, Cllr John Marshall (Con, Garden Suburb).

Today the group met some parent governors, and has an interesting discussion about the roles they play. It seems that unless you are an academy, once a parent governor is selected they can't be removed, which in the past has apparently been a problem.

I was glad to hear that there were no concerns from them about their relationship with the school changing, and that their children were not treated differently, or that they felt uncomfortable in any way wit thier relationship with the school.

They said that they would like to see more and better training, but felt that the borough's head teachers were trustworthy, accepted criticism and shared information. They felt uncertain about the future because of the changes the academies have brought. It was thought that for small schools, which already have a strong relationship with the Council, would not be well advised to go in with outside groups and clusters if they became academies. They also felt that these outside groups and chains could be foreboding if they forced schools to do things thier way, such as abandon any relationship and service provision with the local authority.

They also expressed confusion about excusions policies, which is something I hope we can resolve.

Another good session, and some interesting points to dwell on.