Wednesday, 5 November 2008

EDENSOR GOVERNORS BITE BACK!

According to today's Sentinel (click here), Edensor governors are calling for Mr Mercer the Headteacher to be suspended, following the Marbella training trip incident. It seems that a group of seven governors were kept in the dark about the trip, and have taken steps to find out more about what actually went on, and how the trip came to be approved.

One governor has resigned, and apparently he says governors have been lambasted in the press and in the community, and he's even been in restaurants and people have come up to ask if the school was paying for the meal. He says these seven governors want to clear their names, and make it clear that they did not approve this trip, and did not know about it before it was booked.

Now, those of you who are regular visitors to this blog will know that Tony and myself are both governors at another high school in South Stoke, and at the time this trip was made public, we asked the Elected Mayor for an inquiry. This was reported in the Sentinel, and we were publicly attacked by an ex-education official for this. The Elected Mayor replied that this was a "matter for the school governors".

As a fellow governor, I feel very sorry for these governors who, whilst trying to carry out their public duty, now find themselves in the unenviable position of seeming to be either culpable or incompetent. I do not believe they are/were either. As reported in the Sentinel article, Mr Mercer did not turn up to the governors meeting, and the Chair of Governors refused to answer questions. How are the governors supposed to work under these circumstances? How can the Local Authority expect people to give up their time voluntarily to take up posts as Governors, when the governors are then left open to criticism in this way, because of the actions of a Head and Chair?

There are comments on the Sentinel website suggesting that to suspend Mr Mercer is a waste of money, and that he and the Chair of Governors should both be sacked. What are your thoughts on this?

The ex education official suggests that Tony & I have a vendetta against Edensor. We are merely asking how the Chair and Headteacher have been allowed to arrange this trip? Why are they not now answering the questions being raised by these seven governors? When will they be held to account? Your thoughts please...

17 comments:

Sir Findo Gask said...

I think my views are pretty clear on this ;)

I have requested more information under the FOI about the Marbella trip which has yet to be answered, a copy of the letter will be sent by registered post to Mr Mercer, The City Council Head of Legal Affairs and the FOI commissioners.

Where do I sign up to be a governor?

Tony said...

Sit Findo my good friend, as it happens there is a vacancy on the board of governors at Edensor! Mr Don Evans who is a good man, walked out in disgust at this situation. All the governors were warned apparently not to talk to the press as they may face libel action if they did! My source on the inside told me that Mr Mercer has refused to face any of these governors face to face The chair of governors informed the meeting last night that there was going to be no explanation forthcoming, reference Marbellagate even though several governors had to leave work early to make the meeting and one poor bloke had to catch a train from London! Talk about working in harmony!

Sir Findo Gask said...

I feel I should do more to support my local community..

There is a vacancy at Edensor you say? Why that's just down the road for me... I'll get in touch with the council in the morning..

Sir Findo Gask said...

Sit Findo

Now now Tony, it is either Sir Findo or Sit Fido...

Debbie said...

Tony
In the last 12 months I as a senior leader in one of the stoke schools have been to meetings where officers of the council, SERCO and education professionals have lauded the efforts of Edensor management in trying to bring training forward into the 21 century. Schools' senior management teams were advised at conferences to take their staff of training breaks abroad. My own and other schools costed such trips for this academic year. Ask Jan?
This was ENCOURAGED by the council and SERCO representatives who are now being critical of it. Political expediency.

Don Evans is either totally incompetent or a liar you take your pick. This trip was common knowledge in my school which is on the other side of Stoke for over 6 months and as I have previously said been given the green light by SERCO, education advisors and city councillors.

Political expediancy Tony. Care to discuss how LHS got out of special measures now there was a stunt.

Findo Gash whats that all about?

Debbie said...

Tony

Don Evans is not a good man he may be your mate but he is a LIAR.

Tony said...

Deb,
I don't know Don well at all, I've met the guy on a few occasions. My info comes from an insider who tells me that he was one of the more proactive governors. Longton got out of special measures how? Bloody hard work by the SLT, Staff & Pupils, that's how. No stunt, I was there! Ofsted can not be influenced, if you are connected to a school you will know this. You know how these inspections are don't you?
I have no problem with the training and CPD Deb, I just happen to think that in this day and age, in the current economic climate, with some schools facing closure and some schools staff in fear for their jobs, it would have been more prudent to hold this training a lot closer to the school and for a lot less money. This is my opinion Deb, that's all!

Tony said...

Sir Findo! Would you believe it? someone moved the T key next to the R key, the bounders!

Debbie said...

Tony

You totally failed to respond to:

' In the last 12 months I as a senior leader in one of the stoke schools have been to meetings where officers of the council, SERCO and education professionals have lauded the efforts of Edensor management in trying to bring training forward into the 21 century. Schools' senior management teams were advised at conferences to take their staff of training breaks abroad. My own and other schools costed such trips for this academic year. Ask Jan?
This was ENCOURAGED by the council and SERCO representatives who are now being critical of it.'



I agree with much of what you say tone but

WE WERE beng ADVISED and ENCOURAGED by the aforementioned....

to follow the EDENSOR model possibly even by DON with his selective memory

Oh how I despair the total lack of honesty integrity and honour that now is new/old labour

Ah well that is why SOT has the BNP your fault....

st george said...

Debbie
"Oh how I despair the total lack of honesty integrity and honour that now is new/old labour

Ah well that is why SOT has the BNP your fault...."

and

"...education advisors and city councillors.

Political expediancy Tony. Care to discuss how LHS got out of special measures now there was a stunt."

Tony
"My source on the inside told me that Mr Mercer has refused to face any of these governors face to face The chair of governors informed the meeting last night that there was going to be no explanation forthcoming,..."

Tony
Governors are there to be critical freinds and to hold the headteacher and his/her team to account. Mr Mercer cannot duck this responsibility.

Edensor governors should insist on his appearance.

Debbie.
This Councillor is a governor at 2 schools in the North of the city, and we have never debated sending staff abroad - not whilst I've been there...

Equally, why do you think this is anything to do with Labour ??

Just because you see something you disagree with, does not automatically mean that the Labour Party has so decided !!

What planet are you from ??

I had close freinds working with Longton, and its hard work that pulled that school back...

Partisan said...

This was ENCOURAGED by the council and SERCO representatives who are now being critical of it. Political expediency.

Don Evans is either totally incompetent or a liar you take your pick. This trip was common knowledge in my school which is on the other side of Stoke for over 6 months and as I have previously said been given the green light by SERCO, education advisors and city councillors.

rereads the words ENCOURAGED by the council and SERCO well this peeked my interest perhaps you could let us know at what point this was ENCOURAGED by the council and SERCO as it raises some serious issues elsewhere consider that MrMeredith lambasted the Head for making this choice in sucha climate?

as for Don Evans being a liar i`m interested how this was statement came to pass consider if you will DonEvans MBE an MBE that was gained for services to the education department and the poeple of Fenton ~( info gained from the bbc news cast of the MBE honours rolls) ~ does that sound like a man who would tell porky pies? or even perhaps a man who would be so incompetant as to have been a govenor for 22 years plus chairman of govenors ect ect ect does that sound like a man who would be incompetant? or a liar? explain your statement please.. you have the floor to do so .. please feel free to do so

nita said...

Now, I always thought that Governor's were put into place,to ensure that a school was run properly, and to work closely with the Head, and his/her staff.

So, Head says to Chair, I want to send all the staff on a training trip to Marbella, it will cost us £?????? amount of money. I would say, this is fine, as the money is coming out of the school budget.
Was it cheaper to go abroad or not, is another matter, but it was important that they met to discuss the future of the school, once it became an Academy.

The local press gets hold of the story, and the public are up in arms, at a school spending X amount of tax payers money. Result, school trip is cancelled, and staff do training in school.

So, Head tries to get a refund, and does not really receive much back. This now becomes a total waste of money, but if we are honest, he could not win either way, at this point.

Now, my question is, did the Chair of Governors need to consult and meet with the other Governors, before this money was authorised, or does a Chair have the authority to say yes or no, to a decision? Was this trip never discussed at a Governor's Meeting, if not, why not. Surely, the Chair should have had it put onto the Agenda, so at least he could make the other Governor's aware.

It would seem, that some of the Governors are not happy that they have been taking some public criticism, and one, whilst out for a meal. Now, this cannot be right, if they really genuinely did not know anything about this trip. Governors take on this role, voluntarily, and spend a lot of spare time, attending meetings and events, in their role.

Now, because they cannot get a response from either the Head nor the Chair, and both are unwilling to discuss the matter, they feel that they have no alternative but to resign.

I feel for the kids attending the school, as yet again their school is making the headlines, for all the wrong reasons.

Why will the Head and Chair not meet with the other Governor's? That to me, shows a total lack of respect for these people.

Debbie states, that she has been to meetings where Serco and Council Leaders have praised Edensor for taking training into the 21st Century.

So, why when the story broke, did they get critisism by our Elected Mayor and Council? They need to make their minds up.

Debbie, yet again you bring Longton High School into the debate. You tell us how it got out of special measures? I would say through a lot of very hard work.

Shaun Bennett said...

The head SHOULD be suspended. Not for the mistake of booking the trip in the first place, we all make mistakes.

He should be suspended for his second, and I think worse error of judgement. Having booked the trip, having paid the deposit to then give in to pressure once details became public and cancel the trip without first checking whether the money could be recouped.

Booking the trip was an error of judgement. But having paid for it, they might as well have gone on it if they couldn't get most of the money back by cancelling. Thanks to the head's second error of judgement, the teacher training had to be postponed, and the money was still lost without getting anything out of it.

Two serious mistakes in such a short space of time calls into question his fitness to be doing the job. Making a mistake is one thing, but if it can't be put right, at least have the guts to stand by your decision and ensure that something good comes out of it.

Partisan said...

Actually Shaun.. the mistake it appears to be is not the trip itself but the way in which the trip was organised and sanctioned without the govenors actually knowing about it . and then as reported in the sentinal being left to fend off the angry and quite rightly so angry public and parents who also wherent informed of the whole truth of the matter that was th emistake which i think you`ll find the govenors mentioned in the recent article where asking for resignations and suspensions over. I could be wrong but from all the evidence in front of the public in the public arena and media curently that is how it looks.

nita said...

Partisan. Totally agree with you. It is not the actual training trip for the staff, that is the major issue. Like I have said, although the public were not happy, but if the money is coming out of a school budget, then they will use it as they see fit.

The issue is, that the trip was sanctioned without the Head and Chair, consulting other Governor's. Totally unacceptable.

Shaun Bennett said...

I accept that that is the official line of dissenton this issue. However, I was giving a personal view that the reason I think he should be suspended is because of the second mistake-cancelling the trip without first ensuring that there would be a full refund.

nita said...

Shaun Bennett, you make a fair comment. Would it not have been more sensible to go ahead with the trip, bearing in mind, that the trip had been paid for in full? Anyone will know, that you have to have a pretty good reason to get a full refund from a late cancellation. As it stands, they have only got a very minimum amount of money back. As I have said before, the Head, was by this time in a no win situation.

I feel that this whole situation needs resolving swiftly, and the Head, Chair need to meet and resolve this matter with the other Governors, to ensure that the school receives no more of this bad publicity.

It is a good school, and this whole situation, is not doing its image any good. Lets bear in mind, we have future year 7 parents/pupils due to complete their preferences. This will give them some concerns when the Head/Chair are not working with other governors.