The Commons Education Committee has today released a report in which it says that poorly performing school governors should be sacked. This is a real belter of a recommendation, given the events involving failing banks where nothing was done (except maybe to odd payoff), failures in police leadership where nothing was done (except maybe leaving a full pension entitlement), failures in hospital leadership where nothing was done (Andy Burnham has yet to resign), and failing MPs who aren’t yet subject to a constituents’ led power of recall.
So why focus on school governors? Because they are volunteers, many of them trying to do the right thing in the face of malcontented pupils, disinterested parents, halfwitted education authorities and a Secretary of State for Education who in his own way is just as bad as Ed Balls was when Labour were in power.
Given that lot would you volunteer your time, knowledge and experience when Michael Gove just writes you off as “local worthies”? Mr Gove, I now ask you the same questions I posed of Ed Balls. I’d love to read your answers.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of (the worthless IMO) OFSTED has suggested making the role of governors a paid one. The suggestion may have some validity but more important is that governors get the training and support they need to oversee a school’s operations sensibly.
My view of OFSTED is not complimentary, and neither is the Association of Teachers and Lecturers:
“We do not believe Ofsted has either the capacity or the respect to effectively deliver training for governors and heads,” said ATL leader Mary Bousted.
So the question expands to who is best placed to provide such training? Certainly I think Mr Gove’s department has already done too much intervening in the education system and should not be getting involved any more than it has to. I also challenge the validity of those OFSTED inspectors who have no teaching experience. If you have no teaching experience how can you properly evaluate teachers’ performances? I say you can’t.
School governance is an issue for many schools. There is no magic wand that can be waved that suddenly imparts wisdom, knowledge and experience.
But that is true for all businesses, finance, healthcare, policing and politics.
If Mr Gove is going to follow the recommendations of the Commons Education Committee then he and his fellow MPs should be prepared for a very loud call of sack failing MPs, failing bankers, failing hospital leaders, failing police chiefs and so on.
And by sacking I mean removing any payoffs and other benefits and privileges before escorting them from the premises.