17 Jun '14

News Trojan horse affair: five lessons we must learn

Scandal shows Gove has too much power and daily worship should be scrapped, but the most important point is the need to support the schools involvedAs the Trojan horse furore in Birmingham continues, and spreads, five issues emerge that require urgent national attention. First our system of school governance is broken and needs a total overhaul: its weaknesses contributed significantly to the real and imaginary problems in Birmingham. Second, the role and power of the education secretary needs to be reduced and his relationship with Ofsted clarified neither can be trusted to act efficiently or fairly. Third, Ofsted itself needs to set out its working methods more openly if it is to retain the respect of those it inspects. Fourth, the place of religious bodies and their organised faiths in schools needs to be understood and reframed. Finally, there is an urgent need to provide help to the schools involved in the Trojan horse affair to avoid enormous damage to their pupils' education and community cohesion.Consider. Governors can and do misbehave. When they exceed their brief, usually colleagues quickly remind them of the respective roles of governors and school professionals. Just occasionally, however, a bullying clique forms and causes mayhem, especially for headteachers and leadership teams. In my 10 years in Birmingham there were a handful of occasions when this happened. Invariably the motivation of the governors was commendable, namely to accelerate improvements in outcomes for their children. As senior officers, with the help of local councillors and the cabinet member concerned, we would spend many evenings in schools, community venues and Balti houses seeking better understanding of the way forward with both governors and community members on the one hand and headteachers on the other. On one occasion, we dismissed the governing body and set up an interim executive board, changed the school leadership and started again. We commissioned an independent report that helped us improve governor training and think carefully about the vital role of local authority governors. We established a whistleblowing protocol. Continue reading...

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