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 Morgan of Huyton Baroness Morgan of Huyton Labour 7:15 pm, 7th July 2010

I agree strongly with the noble Baroness, Lady Perry, because my experience is exactly the same. Governing bodies are incredibly important and we all recognise the need for good training and for a wide range of people to be involved. However, as soon as we get into imposing restrictions and saying that we need this or that category of person, as we have done before, we often end up with people who do not want to do it at all. We need to get a range of people who are genuinely and totally committed to the school. In my experience the best governors have often been not the current parents but parents whose children have been through the school and who have decided to maintain their commitment to the school. They have a real feel of what the school has delivered for their children.

Speaking as a current governor I can say that the person who best embodies the community in the school in which I am involved is the local vicar. He does not have a label as anything but he is the most valuable community governor. As it happens it is not a Church of England school, but he absolutely represents the local community, particularly when there have been problems. The local community looks to him, although he would not necessarily fit into one of the categories. Restrictions are not a good route to go down and we should have learnt that from the past.