SCHOOL governor vacancies could rise with government proposals to limit access to the role, it has been warned.
Following the Trojan Horse investigation in Birmingham, the government has recommended governors are limited in how many schools they have influence over.
However educators in East Lancashire have already raised alarms over a shortage of school governors. Many councillors are asked to take on the demanding and unpaid voluntary roles at multiple schools to help deal with the demand.
The government report by former counter-terrorism officer Peter Clarke, looking at the problem of extremist views being imposed at schools, said: “Unless there are genuinely exceptional circumstances, there should be a presumption that an individual will only be a governor of a maximum of two schools.”
This, the report into extremism in schools, says is, ‘so that no single individual has undue influence over a number of schools’. Headteachers, governors and union representatives have said schools in East Lancashire were seeing governorship vacancies challenging to fill.
St Stephen’s CE Primary School in Tockholes was also told by Ofsted it was breaking the rules by having a staff member acting as the vice chair recently.
The campaign group Governors for Schools claims there are 30,000 vacant school governor positions nationally.
Diocese school governor for St Leonards Primary in Billington and Ribble Valley councillor Ged Mirfin said paid, professional governorships were the way forward. He said: “Many of my council colleagues serve on the boards of a number of schools – it will cause chaos if they all quit.
“I can see why the report suggests this but it needs to be investigated as to how it can be practically achieved. If governors were paid, it would resolve the shortage and recruitment could be a lot more rigorous. Otherwise you just attack the motivations of unpaid volunteers.”
Hyndburn councillor Judith Addison is a governor at three schools. She said: “I was asked to take on each one over time because they needed someone.
“The roles are very demanding and most governors would prefer to focus on one school. The question is how will the vacancies get filled?”
Coun Mirfin said: “Without a plan to resolve vacancies this report raises more questions than answers.”