Complaints against Dales primary school governors rejected

West Burton Primary School.

An official complaint made against governors of three Dales primary schools have been rejected by investigators.

Parents from West Burton submitted the complaint against the Bainbridge Askrigg West Burton (BAWB) governing body after the board refused to allow their request to leave the school federation.

The complaint stated that by refusing the request, the board did not act in the best interests of the children at that school or in the interests of the local community.

The parents said that by ignoring the best interests of one school within the federation, the board breached their own code of conduct.

The county council said that Stuart Boothman, lead adviser for governance at North Yorkshire County Council, approached two experienced school governors to undertake an independent investigation into the complaint.

The governors spoke with the complainants, members of the BAWB senior leadership team and some of the governing body including the chair, council officers officers, Councillor John Blackie and the temporary executive head teacher.

The investigators’ report concluded none of the parents’ points within the complaint were upheld and that there was no evidence that the board purposefully or maliciously contravened any of the Nolan Principles, which are also known as the seven principles of public life, including fairness an integrity.

On the issue of fairness, the investigators concluded: “Following discussions with governors, staff and LA officers along with scrutiny of background documentation, it is deemed that the governors behaved with a degree of objectivity.

“At all times they carefully considered the needs of the children and made them their main priority.

“The Ofsted and SIAMS reports both indicate the excellence of the educational provision provided.”

In their report the investigators gave a number of recommendations.

They stated: “It may prove more effective that the federation senior leadership team have face-to-face meetings with parents from West Burton when difficult decisions are being made.

“Schools in the Dales, where children are bussed from outside the villages, means that school staff do not have the opportunity to speak to parents when children are dropped off or picked as happens in urban schools and something may have to be done to counter balance this.

“Every effort to be made to include the wider community when important, far-reaching decisions need to be made.”

One issue for parents at West Burton was the lack of a West Burton representative on the governing body.

The investigators recommended that a system should be put in place to ensure that an active member of the West Burton community was a member of the board.

To read the investigators report in click here.