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Dear Stephen - Can a parent governor candidate be allowed to exceed election word limit ?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by Yummymummyharrogate, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. For me, this thread highlights the potential for difficulties when the parent governor election process is delegated to the Head (as it is in guidance notes on the process from the LA in which I work - Oxfordshire). Surely it makes more sense for the Clerk to manage it?
  2. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    AP - It's about competency, discipline and the thoroughness to carry out a procedure to the letter. The quality of clerks and clerking is too variable in the UK to ensure that any level of competency would be greater than that of headteachers.
  3. Montiagh, at the risk of sounding rude and/or confrontational - which is not the intention! - is your comment about the quality of clerks & clerking based on evidence?
  4. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    AP - are you a clerk? Yes it is based on experience of numerous clerks from LA to independent clerks and substantial anecdotal evidence. There should be a minimum qualification for clerks which there isn't at present. I may add that I have come across some excellent clerks who are worth their weight in gold and others who should not be any where near a GB. We digress from the original post which is simply about whoever has the responsibility of elections should do them properly and professionally and with the utmost integrity.
  5. My apologies for the digression, to both you and the OP. Yes, I'm a clerk to the governing body of the school in which I'm Business Manager (which some may suggest compromises the independence of the clerking role - those people would be incorrect in my case!) I wonder whether the quality of clerking depends on the support from the LA by way of training (I've recently completed the Governing Body Clerks Accreditation programme) and the expectations of the Chair & governing body as a whole (by way of a clear job description, etc.) This may be another thread ...
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Good luck OP, hope you get a re-run, and hope your husband wins. He has shown he can read and follow instructions which the other candidate has not ........ or that he is willing to stick to rules - which again the other candidate has not. We will never know whether there is a connection here between the other candidate being a friend of the head or not. In my view, a GB which is not made up of friends of the head is likely to be the better GB in the longer term. Your husband sounds a very keen candidate; many people would roll over and not complain when they have a child at the school.
  7. I would be interested to hear an update on how this matter concluded. I am going through the same problem myself. Somebody's nomination was submitted with a 'biography' almost 50% beyond the maximum word count and circulated by the Head. I challenged this and they were going to send out the ballots again with a reduced biography for the other candidate. Upon challenging again involving the LA, I've now been told the biography is not part of the nomination - hence the nomination was not invalid. They intend to start the process all over again in the Autumn term. From reading the Statutory Guidelines, the Head must make the "necessary arranagements". I have argued that this was done and that with the biography being part of the nomination forms, the other nominee submitted an invalid nomination which meant I should have been declared elected unopposed. Quite frankly, I've lost trust in the integrity of the process.
  8. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    My view would be that you should have been declared the winner. If I spoil my ballot paper in a local election it is null and void and I am not given a second opportunity. Not following instructions for an election for a governor is the same. I had a case the other day, where the individual wrote 150 words extra despite the instructions being very clear. However the individual was given the opportunity to correct because matters had not yet left school.

    Maximum words are for a good reason to make the playing field equal and not unequal.

    As it used to go in school at question one please read the last question before proceeding.
  9. Thank you Montiagh. Unsurprisingly, I totally agree with you! The problem is the law is vague and open to (mis)interpretation. Are bios part of the formal nomination or not? I say they are if it's part of the nomination form. The LA says otherwise. If there's a dispute, who can arbitrate? It seems nobody. I only wanted to support the school and make available my expertise and experience in a 'community spirited' way. I now feel conspired against.

    A couple of points I have made:

    1 In LA or General Elections, nominees may add a 'description' normally to state which party / campaign they support. Undisputedly this is part of the nomination process and has a strict word count. The 'biography' in a PG election should be considered the equivelent.

    2 Given I'm the only one that hasn't made any mistakes, why should I accept a three month delay? Would a Returning Officer delay any other formal election if a nominee failed to adhere to the rules?

    I feel inclined to send these points up to the powers that be. These are formal elections as per statute, yet the whole process is open to interpretation at best, or conspiracy at worst.
  10. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    It is hard to understand how a biography is not part of a nomination as indeed one has the right to not send a biography with your self nomination if you choose not to do so. Sounds like fudge on behalf of the school and LA. The head conducts the election as it is delegated to him/her to do by the LA. However, they or their office staff don't always cross the tees and dot the eyes and you have found them wanting and they are cheesed off with you because they are doing it again. If a parent spolis there ballot paper or their ballot arrives in school two days after the 'by date' it will not count and they will not be given a second opportunity if for instance the vote was tied.

    Interesting thought might be what would have happened to the result if you had left it alone.

    One of the main stumbling blocks in school governance is that so much that goes on is not covered by regulations and legislation and new legislation coming out on 1st september provides even less prescription than before. What then happens is that where matters are silent it is up to governing bodies to decide. One hopes that all decisions made by governing bodies or chairs on chair's actions or headteachers as is this case make decisions that any reasonable governing body would make and do so with complete transparency and with total Integrity.

    I do agree that waiting three months is a long time but as the legislation is quiet on this and I presume they are wanting to get the summer holidays out of the way. You will not have any mileage here as they are tasked to re-run asap with no specific timescale.

    You might consider getting a view on this by calling Governorline on 08000 722 181 they are very helpful. Also you could get in touch with the Department for Education School Governance Unit Mowden Hall Staindrop Road Darlington Co Durham DL3 9BG Telephone: 01325 735745

    The process is most definitely open to manipulation. You are entiltled to be present at the count of any votes. It may also be that the head is thinking 'I would rather not have this individual or board because he challenged my process and it has cost the school time and a re-run even though you are correct.

    On the basis of your undoubted desire to assist the school, might you not see if there are any other openings on this GB say co-opted or associate?

    Lastly, for those who have very specific problems in school governance, there really isn't sadly any specific 'powers that be' to assist. Usually if a school does something wrong (unless it is child related) nothing much is ever done or sanctions or penalties taken.
  11. grrmummy

    grrmummy New commenter

    I agree with Montaigh - there is very little that can be done when the rules bend to the degree they do in school goverance. It is such a shame though because schools do need effective challenge from people committed to raising standards in schools. It sounds as if you do fit into that category and it may simply be that your skills would be put to better use at a different school. For so many GB's - particularly in primary schools - the idea of challenge is be able to put something in the minutes.

    I hope it works out for you (you'd have my vote!)
  12. this is the 21st century, isnt it? Surely all any capable candidate needs to write in their statement is the URL of their blog?
  13. Thank you for your responses (and your endorsements!). I have not yet heard back from the Council so I've called Governorline and I'm pleased to say they agree with me. Also, I've spoken to DFES (School Governor Unit) in Darlington who've invited me to send them the correspondence - which I will do.

    I like your idea Crispness. As a veteran campaigner, it'd be easy to do that, then get sandwich boards, a PA system, Facebook page and distribute election addresses. However, keeping things in perspective, this is a Community Primary School Parent Governor election. And I've no wish to disrupt normality or cause any unnecessary storm.

    To put it simply, I wish to be the 'critical friend', not 'critical enemy'.

    Montiagh has hit the nail on the head. The LA are fudging matters and the Head Teacher is 'cheesed off'' with me for challenging her mistake.

    There are also one or two further issues which I won't go into here. Suffice to say, despite never having spoken to the Head, they seem to operate in cliques and obviously don't want me on the board. A governor friend has stated that's exactly why they need me!!

    So we'll see what happens.

    Many thanks all.

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