Page 1, 22nd July 1977

22nd July 1977
Page 1
Page 1, 22nd July 1977 — Revolutionary plan to let parents elect governors

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Revolutionary plan to let parents elect governors

GOVERNORS and managers of Catholic schools may be elected rather than appointed if the recommendations of the Taylor Committee which is examining the role of school governors, are accepted by the Department of Education.

Proposing a number of radical changes in school management the report, due to be published on September 20, recommends that there should be no distinction between governors for secondary schools and

managers for primary schools.

Each school should have a governing body of 12 trained people; one quarter would be elected local authority representatives, one quarter elected parents, one quarter elected teachers and school staff including caretakers or cleaners, and one quarter coopted local representatives from the community.

The community governors would be local clergy, trade unionists and industrialists. All members would serve a fouryear term but would be eligible for re-election except for those parents whose children were no longer at the school.

The new governing body would have wide powers, in

eluding a say in the school. budget, staffing and curriculum. It would be able to enforce expulsion of disruptive pupils in accordance with a national code.

The recommendations do not need legislation to be implemented, and the report recommends that they are implemented in England and Wales in the next five years.

Although the committee's report refers only to county schools, it includes a clause expressing hope that voluntaryaided schools, which include Catholic schools, will comply with the standard practice in state schools.

It will be an informal arrangement and, according to a Department of Education source, the Catholic Education

Council has been very cooperative and has suggested that the appointed "foundation" members of school management boards should reflect the local community more than they do at present.

The Catholic Education Council has confirmed that it made a submission to the Taylor Committee in which it supported the idea of teacher and parent representatives on the board of school management.

At present two-thirds of the managers of Catholic primary schools and two-thirds of the governors of Catholic secondary schools are appointed by the diocese or the religious order which owns the school. One-third are appointed by the local education authority.

The Catholic Education Council says that the majority of the managers of Catholic schools shout represent the Catholic community which paid for the school, but it does not insist that the appointed "foundation" members should make up two-thirds of the board. The Campaign for Democracy in Catholic Schools, which was begun by a letter in the Catholic Herald two months ago, said this week that parents of Catholic schools should have the right to elect representatives to the managing bodies of their schools.

The campaign supests that the ideal Catholic school management board should consist of the parish priest and three members elected by the parish.

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