Plans to scrap parent governors sparks row in schools shakeup.

Plans to scrap parent governors sparks row in schools shakeup.

Until now, places have been reserved for elected parents on school governing bodies, but under plans outlined by education secretary Nicky Morgan in the white paper published on Thursday those roles will now be abolished.

The new emphasis will be on the skills – for example in business or finance – that an individual brings to a governing body, rather than their value as a stakeholder, such as a parent with children in the school.

“As we move towards a system where every school is an academy, fully skills-based governance will become the normal [sic] across the education system,” the white paper said.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Voices of parents, governors and the local community are being silenced by a government that does not believe in proper democratic accountability in our schools.”

Plans to scrap parent governors sparks row in schools shakeup.

Governors also condemned the move. One former parent governor, who worked her way up from novice governor to become chair and now director of a multi-academy trust, said: “I think it’s a mistake. I would never have become a governor under these rules.

“After 12 years, I feel like an expert governor, but it would not have happened if I hadn’t had the opportunity to be elected as a parent governor. There aren’t enough ready-made skilled governors – we have to grow our own and plan for succession, just as we do with school leaders.”

Gillian Allcroft of the National Governors’ Association called on the government to keep parents on boards. “Parents of children and young people studying at a school bring an important perspective to the governance of schools that others are unlikely to bring.”

She agreed that the right mix of skills was vital, but added: “Recruiting a small number of board members from certain stakeholder groups and having a skilled board are not mutually exclusive.

In another key development, education secretary Nicky Morgan announced a radical shakeup of teacher qualifications, scrapping qualified teacher status (QTS) and introducing a more open-ended system of accreditation.

Currently, new teachers in England complete their training and then spend a year in the classroom before being awarded QTS. Ministers want a more challenging accreditation, based on a teacher’s performance in the classroom and judged by their headteacher and another senior school leader.

Some teachers will qualify quickly, but others could take years to be approved, rather like learner drivers attempting to pass a driving test. One consequence is that it will be easier for schools to hire experts, including scientists and historians who have not been through official teacher training, and prepare them for accreditation.