It has been reported in the last week that the multi-academy chain E-ACT is set to dissolve its current form of governing bodies for its 23 schools in England and replace them with “academy ambassadorial advisory bodies”.
School governors often include representatives of parents, school staff, local businesses and local politicians.
The E-ACT governors have been invited to join the new advisory bodies, which will have fewer powers to influence decisions on finances and recruitment. Chairs of these new bodies will be selected by E-ACT instead of the current system where governors vote.
“There can be no good reason to remove a layer of people responsible for and interested in the running of a school…”
A spokesperson for E-ACT told [the BBC?] that the academy group had introduced “fundamental changes to how the organisation operates to ensure that every young person received the best possible education with us… Part of this involves adopting a new governance model, in line with the Department for Education’s guidance”.
The key E-ACT changes include:
– governing bodies, with parental representatives, will no longer hold their local schools to account;
– local school governing bodies will be replaced by a centralised process for monitoring standards
– there will be a single central governing body covering all schools in the group across the country, rather than governors at individual level;
– the replacement bodies will provide a different type of function, such as an “interface with the community”;
– the replacement bodies would no longer be involved in areas such as hiring senior staff and monitoring budgets and standards.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said that “There can be no good reason to remove a layer of people responsible for and interested in the running of a school….The government must state categorically that academy trusts need to maintain governing bodies as a vital oversight mechanism”.
Watch this space for updates on if and how the government reacts or intervenes in respect of these proposed changes to school governance.
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