I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately.. but things have not been forgotten.
The “winner” of the parent governor position was Sandra Byrne. She has promised to be hands-on and to speak her mind. I wish her luck.
The new permanent head has been appointed – Mr Schilling. As you know, he was brought in by the Diocese in January to assist with the running of the school. There seems to have been very little discussion about his appointment – this should be a matter for the full board of Governors, but the announcement was made before a meeting took place. Nevertheless, in my multiple dealings with him over the last three months, he has seemed receptive and interested, so I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
And finally … it’s now two months since the LEA replied to us promising that the Diocese would be dealing with the complaint and that they would be in touch. Needless to say, we have heard precisely nothing from them. I have therefore emailed Nick Page at Salford and the Office for Education at the Diocese giving them one further week to respond or I will escalate the complaint to the Secretary of State. (as per Education Act 1996, s. 409 & 497). We will keep you informed as to any progress.
As all parents of children at the school should know, there is currently an election running for a Parent Governor.
The Governing Body is basically in charge of the school; the head reports to them, and they set overall policy. There are ten members; two are school staff (one being the headteacher), one from the LEA, one parent governor, and six foundation governors (one always being the parish priest.)
It should be apparent, therefore, that the influence of the parent governor is likely to be limited, but it is at least a voice in the place that matters.
Parent governors are selected by the parents, which is what the current vote is for. The foundation governors are appointed by the Bishop. You can see the a list of governors, prior to the recent events, still on the school website.
Please take the time to cast your vote; ballot papers should be returned to school in a sealed an signed envelope by Friday 14th.
And yes, I’m standing. You can read about me, and the other candidates, on the rear of the ballot paper. I’d be honoured if you select me. But whomever you choose, please do vote – this is one of the very few opportunities parents have to give their input to the operation of the school.
Letter received from Nick Page, Strategic Director for Children’s Services –
Thank you for your letter which I received on 14 January, 2014 regarding the complaint you have raised about actions of the Governing Body at St Joseph’s RC Primary School. I have liaised with the Diocese of Salford as it is their role to deal with complaints of this type. You will be hearing from them in due course.
The former Headteacher Miss Margaret Ambrose asked for early retirement in November after many years at the school. It was her personal decision and she told parents just before Christmas to, in her own words, “avoid any fuss.”
This has undoubtedly come as a surprise and something of a shock to parents. The governors are extremely grateful for the many years of dedication which Miss Ambrose has given to St Joseph’s RC Primary School. While we are touched by the parents’ feelings and messages of support for Miss Ambrose we would ask them to respect her choice to retire and to support the school as we move forward.
The Governing Body, working closely with the Local Authority and Diocese, have secured a strong and experienced leadership team to lead the school until such time as a new, permanent Headteacher can be appointed.
I’m not wholly convinced that they can offload responsibility to deal with complaints to the Diocese quite like that, so will examine the legislation more closely.
Thanks everyone for the fantastic support today. We were only able to be at the Ryall Avenue gate, but almost everybody who passed signed the petition, and we’ve had lots of good wishes.
Without a doubt, everybody is upset and shocked at Miss Ambrose’s sudden departure, and hopefully with your support we can find out what happened, why, and what can be done about it.
If you were not able to sign, or were one of those who downloaded or took away sheets to sign and return, you can catch me, Rob, any day before or after school, or email me at email@example.com and we’ll work out how to get them to me.
With almost 100 names representing around the same number of children in the school, this already represents around half of the school population wanting answers.
School re-opens on Tuesday 7th January (changed from Monday 6th!).
If you are prepared to collect signatures at the gates, please download and print copies of the petition and be there from 8.30am. Although the official entrance is on Ryall Ave South, there are many pupils still enter though the car park on St Joseph’s Drive – we could do with people there too.
Please add a comment below if you are planning to help so we know to expect you.
Should a person have a grievance with a school governing body, the formal route is first to make a complaint to the Local Education Authority. In our experience, an isolated individual is likely to be brushed away or ignored, however a complaint backed by a significant proportion of those connected to the school would not be, and would show that the governing body is out of touch with the feelings of the school population.
Please feel free to download and print the petition below, collect as many signatures as you can.
Please return them to me, Rob, by Monday 13th January, and I’ll get them over to the LEA. You can find me at school collecting or dropping off most days. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work out how to get them to me.