Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The good Lord speaks out on behalf of the Vaughan!

The good and noble Lord Lexden has asked a question in the House and the answer confirms that the Cardinal Vaughan Parents' campaign to have autonomy over the selection of Foundation Governors has been outstandingly successful.

I know there will be rejoicing in the streets of West London tonight but I also know, having met a few of these good parents, that there will be no crowing, no punching the air with one's fists, well, maybe just once or twice.

Lord Lexden
You see, they are loyal to Holy Mother Church and it grieves them that they have been brought to this point; it should never have happened

Here is the report from Hansard:

Asked by Lord Lexden -

"To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect their proposed amendment to the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2007 will be enacted".
[HL14404] 10 Jan 2012 : Column WA74

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford):

"We intend to make the amendment to the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2007 in January 2012 and anticipate it will come into force in February 2012"
(This is the change in the regulations that will require trustees of VA schools to appoint at least two parents of pupils on the school roll as Foundation Governors, unless it proves impossible to do so.)

So that means, just to emphasize the next month it will be enshrined in law!

That is worth a dozen Gaudetes and quite a few huzzahs!

Photo: Ex Lord Lexden's


  1. That is good news indeed.

  2. Do voters in the UK get to elect their local school board?

  3. Hi Patrick - we have a rather different system. Most public (Government) schools are administrated to a large degree by a Local County Council who also take care of property rates,roads, economic development and a host of other things.
    The schools then have an appointed Board of governors who, within the parameters of County Council procedures, run the school with a large degree of autonomy.
    These people are selected/invited, normally by the existing Board members and parents themselves.
    What the Church wanted to do was take control of this process and appoint its own people rather than the choice of the Board or Parents.

  4. Governors are not selected/invited by existing governors. (Such a process could lead to abuses such as nepotism). For a Diocesan Catholic school that is Voluntary Aided a majority of Governors will be Foundation Governors appointed by the Bishop. Their job is to uphold the Catholic ethos of the school and to carry out the Bishop’s wishes. He can replace them if he judges this is not happening. The other governors are Parent Governors (elected by parents), Staff Governors (elected by the staff) and LA appointed governors. The headteacher may choose to be a governor. Academies are more complicated. I am not sure what happens in schools run by an order.
    The issue at the Vaughan was that the Bishop appointed Foundation Governors who were not parents. Parents interpreted this (I can’t know whether they were right or wrong) as an attempt to dilute the Catholic nature of the school.
    The new law will ensure that some Foundation Governors are also parents so will help parents preserve the nature of that school as it is. However at other schools it might make it difficult for a Bishop to appoint enough Governors who will, for example, ensure that sex education is consistent with the teaching of the Church.
    It is an interference by the State in the running of Catholic schools, so no Gaudates or Huzzahs from me.

  5. PTP - thank you for this. My experience is with secular FE Colleges and Secondary Schools where the Chairman and the Principal would draw up a shortlist for consideration by the rest of the Board.
    I think that you are highlighting my response to Patrick which, in my defence was abbreviated to give the essence of the process.
    But you are absolutely correct in your explanation.

    However, I have yet to come across any significant number of Catholic Secondary schools with any essence of the Catholic faith about them.
    The Bishops must be the ultimate culprits here and so, any legislation that results in good Catholic parents having the ability to effect change in the Board structure must be a good thing.Hurrah!