Academies Bill [HL] — Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 7th July 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Perry of Southwark Baroness Perry of Southwark Conservative 7:15 pm, 7th July 2010

I, too, would like to pay very warm tribute to the importance of governing bodies. Exactly as the noble Baroness said, they have had more and more responsibilities thrust on them by legislation in the past 20 years or so. I am, however, nervous of any restriction as to the exact composition of a governing body-as to who should be on it, how many, what proportion, and so on. My experience is based not on the governing body of a school, but I was reflecting as I was listening to the argument that I had for many years the privilege of chairing the council of Roehampton University, previously the Roehampton Institute. We made a positive decision, and I think a democratic decision, that we would advertise the vacancies for governors. We were astonished by the wealth of interest from highly expert people from the community. Of course people will not offer to be on a governing body if they live 50 miles away, so it was very much a local thing. It was really inspiring to find people who popped up from the community of whom we would never have heard saying that they wanted to be interviewed for membership of the governing body.

Much as I agree with the noble Baroness on the importance of parents and governing bodies-I cannot speak too highly of every governing body with which I have been involved-I beg her not to press an amendment that would restrict the composition of governing bodies by dictating it in this way.