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Press Releases 2016

Northern Conference 2016: Press Release - School Governance Must Be Reformed

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Delegates assembled at the Northern Conference of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), in the Hilton hotel, Templepatrick, today discussed the fact there are no arrangements in place to ensure the governance arrangements of a school are fit for purpose.

Mr Mark McTaggart, Northern Chairperson of INTO, said,

“School governors are to be applauded. They are committed volunteers who discharge their functions as an employer and as custodians of significant amounts of public money with due diligence. However, as INTO members have found to their horror in a small number of situations where a Board of Governors or individual governor acts outside the guidance available to them there is absolutely no power to remove or censure a Board or individual governor.”

Mr McTaggart continued,

“INTO has sought advice from the employing authorities and Department of Education (DE) in certain cases and urged them to intervene. These bodies have been reluctant to intervene and ultimately the industrial relations issues in the schools in question have escalated. Without the power to censure or remove rogue governors the entire process of school governance will increasingly cease to enjoy the confidence of teachers and parents. The reported £1M plus expended on teacher suspensions in recent times is in part due to a failure in the exercise of governance in some of the schools concerned”

Mr McTaggart concluded,

“This Conference is calling for INTO to engage with DE to seek to have amendments made to the governance regulations. It is no longer acceptable to simply say, as DE does, that we can’t do anything especially when the school rely on public finance to ensure its viability. Everyone expects those charged with the running of public organisations to be challenged over their stewardship. Where that challenge function reveals major issues then it must be possible, for the sake of public confidence, to ensure appropriate steps can be taken including standing a Board of Governors down or removing an individual governor from office, to correct the problem. The employees in a school are subject to due process, it is high time that similar processes are put in place to ensure school governance can continue to enjoy the confidence of the wider educational community.”

ENDS