Wednesday 29 May 2013

Brent Council face united challenge on imposition of IEB at Copland School

The governing body of Copland High School has joined with unions in challenging Brent Council's intention to  impose an  Interim Executive Board at the school following Ofsted's judgement that the school is failing.

Interim Executive Boards (IEBs) are appointed by the local authority and replace the usual governing body that includes elected parent and staff representatives, community and local authority governors. They are often appointed when the governing body is deemed to have failed but also when the authorities, local and central government,  encounter opposition to plans to forced a school to convert to academy status.

In letters to Dr Krutika Pau, Director of  Children and Families at Brent Council, they argue that an IEB is not necessary and may well be detrimental to the school's interests. The school has already experienced an IEB which was appointed following the loss of senior staff in the wake of the financial mismanagement scandal..

Dima Khazem, Chair of Governors,  writes:

Imposing a new IEB now will probably face opposition from staff at a time when the current GB has worked well in tandem with the JCC to put into effect a voluntary redundancy programme which will see staffing reduced drastically and will achieve significant budget deficit reduction alongside removal of ineffective staff. We are worried that this will delay the momentum of positive change and cause an upheaval which will harm the school, its pupils and the LA at a time of great change for all.

Moreover, research by Browne Jackobson has shown a generally low success rate for the 80 or so interim executive boards that have so far been introduced in maintained schools. LINK

We feel that interim executive boards are unsuccessful because of their interim and undemocratic nature and we therefore are not convinced that this is the best intervention that the LA can make in this instance, especially that it does not mirror what the OFSTED report has recommended.
Khazem concludes:
What this GB has tried to do, with increasing success recently, is to overcome barriers of distrust and build bridges of understanding and a culture of accountability across the school. Yet again, there is a limit to what this GB can do in the time frame it had and the textured, complex and widespread problems it faced. Based on the above, we are in disagreement with the LA that installing an IEB right now is the best course of action. It would be a real shame that when this GB started to understand and exercise its role and remit effectively, it is threatened with removal and gets blamed for a decade of neglect and negligence within and outside the school.
Writing to Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt, and the new lead member for children and families, Hank Roberts National President of the ATL and Brent branch secretary poses a number of questions:

Before you might act in haste to support this (Krutika Pau's proposal for an IEB)  I would ask you to respond to these questions.

1) What actual educational evidence, other than Government propaganda, do you have that turning a school into an academy improves teaching and learning?
2) Why would you seek to ignore the Ofsted Report's recommendation that there be “an external review of Governance” at Copland, which is not an imposition of an IEB?
3) How do you answer the detailed points raised in the Chair of Governors letter, written on behalf of the Governing Body, explaining what had been done and crucial background information?
4) If Brent is claiming to be acting in the best interests of pupils' education then will you be asking the Governors to call a meeting of parents and carers to actually establish their views, or do you intend to have no consultation with parents?
5) As the last IEB at Copland failed to overcome the school's problems, what leads you to believe, and what evidence do have, that it will succeed this time, especially if the staff did not want to co-operate with this imposed undemocratic body with no proper staff or parent representation?
6) Why would you and a Labour Council be acting to implement Gove's policies and do his 'dirty work' for him?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why pay more than the statuary Min.when both the Brent and school are in debt hardship.This is not a good deal for Brent tax payers!!
Plunkett. show some bottle and face up to the unions or we will sue both you and the board