Saturday 27 October 2018

FoI reveals why approval for the Woodfield-Village School Multi-Academy Trust was delayed

Brent NEU sent an FoI request to Martin Post, the Regional School's Commissioner, asking why a letter had been sent to the DfE  suggesting that the controversial MAT proposed for The Village and Woodfield special schools was not approved.  The NEU allege that the school had denied there was any such decision and  had replied to the FoI request in a misleading way.

Post's response indicated  that the Head Teachers' Board (HTB) that approves MAT requests had concerns over governance:
The proposed structure was not felt to be robust:
  • Two proposed members are also Trustees, and these individuals are also the Chairs of the Governing Bodies at each school, which raises issues for accountability.
  • Both the vice chairs of the local governing bodies are also trustees
  • Three of the proposed trustees are also employees
  • All of the trustees are either employees or on the current local governing bodies of the two schools
  • Ex-Head of the school as a member
  • Overall there needs to be some independent individuals on the Board
Has the trust completed a skills audit for the Board of Trustees? Would expect appointments to be made based on skills - would expect the trust to aim for a skills based Board post the transition phase

Both The Village School and Woodfield currently have interim heads of school - what happens when these individuals leave/.what is the future plan for Heads of school?
Governance and particularly the lack of  public and democratic accountability has long been a major issue raised by those of us opposed to academisation and the HTB's comments reinforce those reservations.

Surely these are are issues that should have concerned Brent Council. Why did they not seek information from the RSG or make their own representations over governance. Surely it can't be because the Labour Chief Whip, Cllr Sandra Kabir, is Chair of Governors of one of the schools,  a key champion of academisation and apparently unaware of these problems?

In the absence of an Education Committee on Brent Council it is surely time that the Scrutiny Committee looked into the issue of academisation and its impact in Brent in some detail.

The NEU's local newsletter, with more on this issue and the background. is posted below. Click on the bottom right square for full page version:


Philip Grant said...

Good governance, or the lack of it, is something I have raised concerns about in connection with Brent Council (and its Leader) in the past.

There are clearly serious concerns over governance in respect of the proposed Multi Academy Trust involving The Village School, of which Brent Labour Group's Chief Whip, Sandra Kabir, is Chair of Governors.

The issues that Martin has raised above are something which any responsible Local Authority would have recognised the concerns about, and subjected them to scrutiny - especially as it is their LA appointed school governor, Cllr. Kabir, who appears to be at the centre of them.

Philip Grant said...

Not directly linked to this particular issue, but I have tried to look up information on Brent Council meetings etc. on the Council's website in recent days, and get the same scary message:

' - This page isn’t working'

Is it just the page that isn't working?

Jaine Lunn said...

How convenient. Yet they are selling IT services to Lewisham.

Jaine Lunn said...

How convenient. Yet they are selling IT services to Lewisham.