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 Lord Greaves Lord Greaves Liberal Democrat 7:15 pm, 7th July 2010

My Lords, I do not think that the amendments call for restrictions. They are the opposite; they say that parents are a special group of people who should therefore be given places as of right. That does not restrict anyone else in any way. It is absolutely true that some of the best governors are people who have become interested in and involved in the school over a period. Indeed, some of the best governors are people who may now be grandparents of children in the school who first got involved as parents and, when their children had gone through the school and they were not qualified to be parent governors any more, it was natural for the school to find a way to get them back on the governing body as an appointee, a co-optee, or whatever. That is absolutely correct, and no one is arguing against it.

Schools really need people who are prepared to give up considerable time, energy and commitment to the school, whatever their present position in the community. The purpose behind the amendments is that parents of children in the school at the time are a special group, for obvious reasons, and that their presence on the governing body in a reasonable proportion ought to be set out and entrenched. That in no way contravenes anything that the noble Baronesses, Lady Perry and Lady Morgan, said about the importance of getting other people involved, or of parents continuing after they have been parents of children at the school.