Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, announced to the Education Committee this week that the Government would not be proceeding with plans to scrap the role of parent governors in England’s academies. Responding to a question from Stephen Timms, a member of the Education Committee and a former Schools Minister, the Secretary of State added, “I think parent governors play a vital role.”
The issue became controversial earlier this year when Nicky Morgan, the former Secretary of State for Education, announced places to remove reserved places for parents on boards of governors in English academies. At the time Stephen Timms had expressed his concerns at the prospect of fewer parents as governors, saying that the proposals were “a really bad idea”. At the hearing of the Education Committee however, Justine Greening, appointed to Teresa May’s cabinet in July, moved away on plans inherited from her predecessor. When asked by Stephen Timms if she had considered dropping the plans to remove parent governors, the Secretary of State said, “I do not think we should proceed with that [removing parent governors]”.
Speaking about the Government’s announcement, Stephen Timms said “I’m delighted that the Secretary of State has decided to maintain places for parents governors on school boards.” He added, “parents have a unique perspective of a school which helps keep a leadership team of a school focused on improving education for the children”.
During the Education Committee hearing, members also heard the Secretary of State provide further detail about the Government’s plans to introduce new selective grammar schools. Despite this, Labour MPs remain opposed to the idea as well as a number of Conservative MPs expressing their concerns with the proposal.