by Peter Stanford CARDINAL Basil Hume has sacked two governors of a West London Catholic school in an attempt to break the impasse over diocesan plans to reorganise secondary education in the area.
Two of the 12 foundation governors appointed by the Cardinal to the board of 21 at the Cardinal Vaughan School have been dismissed and a third has stood down.
Three new appointees of the Cardinal will take their seats at a September 23 meeting when the governors will be asked for the fourth time to approve diocesan plans to close the school's sixth form and join in with a tertiary college in nearby north Kensington. On the previous three occasions, the proposal has been thrown out despite the in-built majority of diocesan representatives.
David Marr and Dorothy Flynn have been sacked for "declining to represent the legitimate interests of the diocesan trustees who appoint them" according to a statement from the office of Mgr Ralph Brown, Vicar-General in the diocese.
In a letter to the headmasters, Cardinal Hume explained his decision, which has caused him "much concern and great sadness", in terms of his responsibility to "keep in mind the whole community, the interests of all and the furtherance of Catholic education in general".
The role of foundation governors has been misunderstood by some on the Vaughan board, wrote Cardinal Hume. Their place is "not to express personal preferences" but "to ensure that the decisions of the Trustees are implemented".
The three new governors Fr Francis Leonard, Fr Colin McLean and Mr Scanlon will face a hostiledeputation from the parents' Action Committee at the school. They are determined to keep the character of the Vaughan which regularly tops tables for examination results in inner London.
Since the dispute over the future of the school began at least three other governors have resigned, including Cardinal Hume's personal representative on the board, Philip Daniel. Mr Daniel's replacement, Fr Valdimir Felzmann, who taught at the school for 12 years, told the Catholic Herald that although the achievement of the diocesan plans had been a "painful" process, "it would be a big mistake to see the Cardinal as destroying the Vaughan".
If, as expected, the new faces on the Vaughan governors force the changes through next Wednesday, a second vote 28 days later will follow, and if that too is positive, the plans will go forward to Kenneth Baker, the Education Secretary for final approval. The Minister will invite opinions on the subject from all involved before making his decision.