20 governors face the sack

PUBLISHED: 07:48 23 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:04 22 October 2010

Twenty school governors are set to be sacked at a school rocked by poor exam results, low staff morale and allegations of bullying and racism.

Twenty school governors are set to be sacked at a school rocked by poor exam results, low staff morale and allegations of bullying and racism.

Cambridgeshire County Council is set to write to the education secretary Alan Johnson, calling for the governing body of Queen's School, in Wisbech, to be sacked.

The authority has also written individually to each governor, asking them to step down.

It wants to replace them with an interim board, tasked with turning around the failing 1,400-pupil school.

Two weeks ago it emerged Queen's faced being placed on special measures because of its failure to improve exam results and growing unrest among staff.

An Ofsted report, which is due to be released in the next few weeks, is expected to highlight many of the issues raised by county council inspectors.

Governors have been shown the document and prepared an action plan in response.

But Gordon Jeyes, deputy chief executive for the county's children's and young people's service, said the action plan "will not on its own suffice".

In a letter to Andrew Pallant, chairman of the governors, Mr Jeyes said:

"On the assumption that the special measures judgement will be corroborated, the

local authority hereby

serves notice that it

intends to replace the governing body with an interim executive board.

"The local authority believes that this very unusual action is required

in order to reinvigorate the support and challenge functions required to secure improvement and to strengthen links between

the school and the wider local community.

"School leaders and governors have not demonstrated sufficient willingness to accept critical scrutiny."

Mr Jeyes' letter listed four areas of concern. They included insufficient accountability and concerns raised by parents over the way complaints were handled.

He said the governing body had not been effective in holding the school leadership to account.

Issues over standards and achievements, particularly

at Key Stage 4, were also raised, as was concerns over staff morale, high levels of staff absence and issues relating to recruitment and retention.

Mr Jeyes also highlighted pupils' perception regarding individual safety "in matters relating to bullying and racism".

He said there were "considerable credibility gaps" between the school's evaluation of itself and that carried out by the county council.

Mr Jeyes said Ofsted's assessment in all but one area matched that of the education authority which "confirmed serious issues of concern, which needed to be addressed".

Mr Jeyes said governors

had until the end of the

month to respond to the setting up of an interim executive board, which

would need formal approval from the education


"Please be assured that I very much regret having to take this action," his letter concludes.

"I believe however that, for a particular period, change is in the best interest of achieving improvement for all the children at the Queen's School."

Mr Pallant and Queen's headteacher Stephen McKenna declined to comment.

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