Friday, 3 December 2010

Is Westminster steamrollering Cardinal Vaughan?

I cannot comprehend why a Diocese should wish to impose controls over one of its schools unless, of course, it is a failing school or one that flouts the Catholic ethos guidelines. That is not the case with Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. It is an outstanding school with a reputation for academic excellence and has a very, very strong Catholic ethos.
On the premise 'if it ain't broke, why fix it?' why is ++ Nichols so keen to impose his choice of four Governers on the School Board, headed by his own Head of Education, Paul Barber?

Here is what the Westminster Diocesan Guidelines specifiy when it comes to appointing a Governor of a School. The bold insets are mine:

Paul Barber (left) Nick Gibb MP and ++ George Stack (right)
Governors: Election of Chair and Vice Chair
The governing body (not the Archbishop) must elect a chair and vice chair. The regulations do not prescribe the process, which is left to governors to organise. It is good practice though to agree on the procedure for the election at the meeting before. It is usual that the election takes place at the first meeting of the Autumn Term. The head teacher and or other school employees are disqualified from standing for these offices. For those governing bodies that are in the process of electing chairs and vice chairs it is timely to remind them that the chair has a vital role in ensuring that the governors share with the staff and parents the school’s aims and objectives and that these are at the forefront of all that they undertake. (falls under the category of overstating the b******g obvious)There is an expectation that the chair will be a foundation governor: the importance of the chair being a Catholic cannot be overestimated if due regard is to be given to promoting the Catholic ethos in all aspects of school life. It is to be hoped, therefore, that foundation governors will prepare themselves to stand for election as chair. Once a new chair and vice-chair have been elected this must be notified immediately by the clerk to Monica This ensures that our database is correct and saves much time and convenience.

Not a word about the Diocese having powers to appoint Governors over the head of the Head (and other Board Members).


  1. informative, thanks for sharing.

  2. Turn your first paragraph 180 degrees and you have the answer.

  3. The governing body of the Vaughan has 11 foundation governors and they form the majority. The foundation governors are appointed by the diocese but BY LAW they must act in the interest of the school NOT the diocese. Every time a foundation governor fails to comply with diocesan "guidance" re the Vaughan , the diocese refuses to reappoint them. The school has lost 7 governors AND 2 chairs in the last two years. These governors all said thaey were willing to stand again and the diocese has said they are short of volunteers to be governors and yet they refuse to appint loyal supportets of the school to the governing body. The question is why? The school is amongst the most succcessful comprehensives in the country. It has above average number of children on free school meals and above average number of children whose first language is not English. It has an average number of children with special need compared with other London schools. Anyone who is interested can check the stats. The diocese has been spreading malicious rumours that this school is elitist based solely on the fact that it is tradtional.

  4. Further to above it was the parent governors who took the diocese to court for failing to appoint two parent foundation governors (as they must according to the IOG) The paent governors lost the case becasue the judge ruled that this can be any parent not matter how grown up their child or which school thay go to. This has important implications for Catholic education. It effectively gives enormous power to the CES and means parents will have no say if there are changes which they fear will ruin the Catholic ethos. Th ediocese claim they are doing this to help the school preserve its Catholic ethos. Any one who knows the Vaughan knows it is the most loyal of schools to the Catholic faith. Please write to the Vatican , Catholic press and anyone with influence to express your concern if you feel the Vaughan is worth preserving. Parents are feeling helpless and very sad that the Vaughan is being attacked from within. We are confused by the diocese and are no longer sure what the CES stands for.We desperately need letters sent and most importantly prayers .