Sunday 5 June 2011

Teather in the hot seat?

Another meeting!  I don't spend all my time at them, honestly, but this is one where we might see a bit of accountability.

Headteachers and governors have been wrestling with the twin-pronged pressures of government policy changes and budget cuts. Conversion to academies is an active issue with Ark, Capital City,Claremont,  Crest Girls, Crest Boys academies and Kingsbury and Woodfield considering conversion. The prospect of a primary Free School is on the horizon. The Council's stance on academies has been somewhat opaque with Cllr Mary Arnold, lead member for Children and Families stating her opposition, but Krutika Pau, Director of Children and Families, putting forward a 'neutral' stance.

In terms of cuts, governors have found themselves in a difficult position regarding detailed budget figures from the council which were received very late in the budget making process, as well as having to make decisions about 'buying in' services from the council at increased cost and provided by fewer staff. School have often been tempted to buy-in services from external providers instead.

The two issues are connected because poor back-up from the Local Authority undermines arguments against converting to academy  status.

We are also in the rare position of having a local MP in the government with an education brief . Sarah Teather, Minister of State for Children and Families,  is currently leading on early years provision and special educational needs. Dr Rhodes Boyson, Conservative MP for Brent North, was the last local MP in such a position.

Sarah Teather will be speaking at the Brent Conference for Governors on Monday June 20th 2011. She will be speaking about the new Education Bill and Krutika Pau will be speaking about changes in Children and Families and her vision for her brief.

Gareth Daniel, Brent's Chief Executive will examine what he sees are the main challenges ahead and how they will affect schools and children's centres.

The event, at the Wembley Plaza, is free to Brent school governors, children's centre board members, associate members and clerks. There is a charge of £70 per person  for other interested parties.

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