Parents want St Joseph's board of governors to go
PARENTS of pupils St Joseph’s Catholic College, which was put into special measures last month after an Ofsted report, are urging its diocese to remove the board of governors.
Having seen good progress at the school following the appointment of new headteacher, Paul Hughes, they want to ensure the highest levels of management, who came in for particular criticism from the schools watchdog, do not remain in their positions.
In a letter to Colleen Collett, the head of schools and colleges at Clifton Diocese, parents are calling for the resignation of the core management of the governors, including the chair, Stephen Lake.
The letter says: “As there has been a clear breach of trust and faith during the catastrophic governance of St Joseph’s College, that at least would be attributed as gross misconduct, I am asking you to remove the main management of the governors, especially Stephen Lake.
“When top management fail they normally have the good grace to resign, please do not allow the failed governors to remain.
“It is imperative for Mr Hughes to have a competent board of governors to challenge and support his work.”
Wayne Armstrong, 42, of Haydon Wick, set up the St Joseph College Community Action group in the wake of the Ofsted report. His son started at the school this year and his daughter is due to join him in four years time.
“Ofsted clearly stated the board of governors were not fit for purpose,” he said. “They were not the appropriate people to help manage the school, so an interim set of governors will be put in place.”
The Ofsted report said: “The governing body do not have the depth of information required to make sure that the actions being taken are bringing about improvements quickly enough.
“They are unable to specify where the pupil premium funding is being used to close the gaps in learning between groups of students or supporting those who are at risk of falling behind.
“The governing body has yet to ensure the salaries teachers receive are more closely linked to the progress made by students they teach.
“An external review of governance should be undertaken in order to assess how this aspect of management may be improved.”
Mr Armstrong and his fellow parents are adamant the school should follow the recommendations of the Ofsted report and remove the core management of governors.
“One of the primary concerns I have is that when the school is out of special measures, the interim governors will cease to have a purpose,” he said.
“At that stage the previous set of governors could be put back into place.
“There are community governors who do an excellent job, so we are not saying the whole board of governors need to go, just the core management.
“This happened on Mr Lake’s watch. He was measured and he failed.
“The fundamental purpose here is the betterment of the school. The former management of the school had massively eroded that.
“Quite often we assume the authorities will do the right thing, but there is a due process and we are following that.
Stephen Lake, the chairman of governors at St Joseph, said: “The governors are aware of the concerns of some of the parents. The governing body has been working very hard behind the scenes for some time.
“This can be seen in the huge improvement in the last year with the school having its best ever GCSE results this year.
“This indicates the effectiveness of the steps being taken and we are confident that the new principal will build upon this rapidly to return St Joseph’s to outstanding once again.
“We have also put in place an interim executive board that can react more quickly to changes and brought in two educational specialists so that the improvement seen this summer can continue.
“All concerned with the college need to work together to support the new principal, Paul Hughes, in his efforts to ensure the best education for our students.”
Clifton Diocese is in the process of implementing changes at the school to help resolve some of the problems identified by Ofsted.
A spokesman said: “Due to the current situation and ongoing discussions regarding St Joseph College, Clifton Diocese are unable to comment further.”
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