Parent governor role won’t be scrapped – Greening
Education Secretary Justine Greening says she will not be pushing forward with moves to scrap the parent governor role from schools in England.
She told the Commons Education Committee parent governors often played a “vital role” in school improvement.
The proposal to remove the need for academies to have elected parents on governing bodies emerged in March in plans to make all schools academies.
It sparked an outcry from MPs, schools and teaching unions.
‘Build from outside’
Answering a question about the issue from Labour’s Stephen Timms, Ms Greening said: “One way we can ensure that schools who are doing a less good job improve is getting parents more involved.
“Often, and I’ve seen this as a constituency MP, when schools turn around it’s when parents become more engaged and more invested in the school’s success and that helps build the school from the outside as well as the hard work teachers are doing on the inside.
“It doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years to do but parents are part of how success gets delivered so I do not think we should proceed with that.”
The planned removal of the parent governor role, in the Education for All White Paper, was widely criticised, with Jeremy Corbyn calling it an attack on parents.
David Cameron defended the plans, saying it did not mean that parents would be removed from governing bodes.
The White Paper said academies, including those already open and those that will be converted, should have the “freedom” not to have parent governors.
It said: “We will no longer require academy trusts to reserve places for elected parents on governing boards.
“We will offer this freedom to all open and new academies, and as we move towards a system where every school is an academy, fully skills-based governance will become the norm across the education system.”
Liberal Democrat education spokesman John Pugh said: “This will undoubtedly be the first of many climbs down from a Secretary of State left to defend the indefensible.
“The government’s education policy is all over the place.
How can you consult on a grammar schools green paper, when everything could be changed by the academy White Paper? It’s a shambles.
“Recognition of the pivotal role of parents in running schools is the sort of common sense which does not suit the ideologues framing government educational policy.
Ms Greening also said she supported her predecessor’s plans for a fully academised school system, where all state schools become run by independent organisations.
But she said she was looking at ways to improve the financial accountability of these privately run but state-funded schools.