Governors Accuse Schools Chief of 'Truancy' Calls for Resignation over Meetings Snub

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN TURNER

LIVERPOOL'S education leader was last night facing calls for his resignation after repeatedly snubbing the city's school governors.

Cllr Keith Turner has been accused of treating Liverpool's chair of governors as "nodding donkeys" and showing a lack of respect over a failure to turn up at crunch meetings between the council and the city's governing bodies.

The termly meetings with the council are designed to give governors the opportunity to hear from directors on the city's education blueprint and grill and get feedback from cabinet member Cllr Turner on often crucial schooling matters.

But Cllr Turner has attended just one of five possible meetings since he took on the role as executive member for education, skills and employment as part of council leader Warren Bradley's revamped team in May last year.

Last night, Cllr Turner insisted he was "not trying to avoid" the governors and blamed clashes in his hectic work diary for his absence.

But calls for his head have surfaced after his latest no show at the September 14 meeting when more than 30 governors from across the city's primary and secondary schools came to hear agenda items ranging from school closures to a new policy for children in care.

The governors were livid the city's education supremo did not make himself available for questioning.

They include Sean Doherty, chair of governors at Fazakerley High School, who told the Daily Post: "He is treating us like nodding donkeys.

"If we have questions for him how can he answer them? We are all disgusted that he doesn't turn up and no reason is given. He's the top of the tree and I've not met him.

"Maybe he does not see chairs of governors as important and thinks it's a case of just ticking a box."

He added: "I think he should resign and the council bring back Cllr Paul Clein (his predecessor), who in my six years as a chair of governors to my recollection never missed a meeting. If you can't turn up, you should not be in that position. It is the future of the city."

Greenbank ward councillor, Paul Clein, sensationally quit his education post of 10 years in March last year after accusing council leaders of putting "petty revenge" ahead of running the city.

His departure was met with praise for his passion for improving the city's education standards. …