Schools Facing Paralysis over Governors Shortage
Revill, John, The Birmingham Post (England)
A lack of volunteers has left governing bodies of Birmingham schools facing paralysis.
Schools across the city will be 900 governors short from January, a situation which could delay decisions on staff appointments and budgets.
The crisis has been blamed partly on new Government rules and a reluctance of people to volunteer.
But the biggest shortfall is from the local education authority which appoints volunteers from political parties to represent the political make-up of the council.
Deputy education chairman Coun Abdul Malik (Lab Nechells) said many school governors were being overstretched because of the recruitment problem.
He said: "This shortage is really affecting many schools who won't have enough governors to sit on all the committees.
"Matters like finance, discipline, personnel and building could be neglected because there are not enough people to man the committees. There will be a lot of difficulties.
"One problem is that councillors cannot sit on more than two governing bodies, and it is a very hard job to do which can take a lot of time."
Coun Malik said all three political parties had agreed to staff the governors committees even if they did not match the political make-up of the city.
He said: "The most important thing is to make sure we have enough governors for the schools. We are doing everything we can to encourage people to join in."
The situation has been compounded because of extra places created by Government rules stating that primary schools should now have separate bodies for junior and infant schools.
The legislation has created 31 governing bodies at Birmingham schools which are struggling to attract enough people to sit on the committees.
Other shortages are in the areas of parent governors, where another 140 representatives are needed, and teacher governors which are 42 representatives short.
Nearly 70 foundation governors, usually clergymen at religious schools, are also needed. …