Arshad Malik, leader of the Parents Association of Park View Academy, explained at the Joint Scrutiny Committees meeting on Trojan Horse on 9 September that there was a mass meeting of parents with Liam Byrne, the local MP.
“We asked the trustees and governors to resign. We were given assurances by the Department for Education and the Education Funding Agency and by Sir Michael Wilshaw when I spoke to him that parents would be involved from the outset in helping to structure the school and make a positive impact.”
New trustees were appointed at the end of term by the DfE.
“In the six weeks during the holidays they have not contacted us once. We had to put pressure on to get some information out…. To date I still haven’t met the Trustees despite numerous attempts… We feel badly let down by the Department for Education and the Education Funding Agency giving us assurances and not involving us at any stage.”
Arshad said that the form for applying to be a parent governor is like you’re applying to be CEO of a company. The Board will then interview you and select. “There’s no mandate for parents electing other parents as parent governors.”
“We really need to look forward but this can only happen if everybody works together, if everybody is given a chance to work together.”
Liam Byrne has now sent the following letter to the secretary of state for education;
Written by liam_byrne at September 12, 2014
Park View Education Trust
I met today with Adrian Packer, principal of Park View Education Trust and a representative group of parents met today, together with me, along with Pat Smart.
Five issues were raised, and I would grateful for your urgent clarification.
- Overall PVET structure.
Please can you set out the proposed PVET structure and let me know
(i) how many Trust members,
(ii) Trust directors and
(iii) parent governors are envisaged? What is set out in Trust articles? What is down to the discretion of Trust members/ directors?
- Election of parent governors
Parent governors are being elected and the process has caused some concern.
For the sake of clarity please can you set out the following:
(I) How many parent governors are sought for each school in the PVET trust?
(ii) How will parent governors be selected? I am assuming this is a democratic election amongst parents.
(iii) If the mode of selection is free elections, what is the purpose of pre-screening of skills, who assesses these skills, and what are these assessments used for?
- Relationship between parent governors and trust members and directors
How will parent governors become Trust members and Trust directors?
It would of course be completely unacceptable in the circumstances to shut out parent governors from these positions, so please let me know both the process and timetable for elevating parent governors to Trust membership/ directorship.
- Parents council
DFE welcomes the creation of Parents’ Councils. Nansen school parents have proposed a structure and constitution for this; please let me know if the school will recognise and work with the Parents’ Council proposals now on the table? Urgent feedback on this point is requested.
- Duties of parent governors
Please set out the duties of parent governors
Ofsted wants parental involvement; para 17 of the Education Act. Need strategy that’s new and this needs communicating.
Can I underline again my thanks to both Pat Smart and Adrian Packer for hosting us today, and I look forward to your most urgent reply.
I am copying this letter to Colin Diamond, PVET trustees and parents
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
It is worth noting however, that in ignoring parents and the wider community, Park View is simply behaving as any other academy. Unlike a community school it has the freedom to appoint rather than elect governors and is under no obligation to consult its community. It could be argued that the lack of legitimate means for the school community to get involved in an academy such as Park View was a contributing factor to the decision that a small number of people made to use illegitimate means to influence the running of the school.