‘Experienced’ new governors appointed at troubled Leyland St Mary’s

Action plan: Leyland St Mary's High School, in Royal Avenue, is in special measures
Action plan: Leyland St Mary's High School, in Royal Avenue, is in special measures
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It is hoped that a shake-up of the governing body at failing Leyland St Mary’s High School will help move the school out of special measures.

The management team and archdiocese have vowed to carry out a ‘reconstitution’ of the governing body as part of an action plan to improve the school, after a damning Ofsted report found that the governors were ‘ineffective’ and were “not doing enough to improve the quality of teaching and students’ achievement”.

The changes mean that chair of governors Kathleen Cooper has been replaced with a “very experienced chair of governors, who is one of only three National Leaders of Governance in the Liverpool Archdiocese.”

Kathleen Cooper only stepped in to the role last May when former chair Chris Raven resigned at the height of staff unrest, due to work commitments.

A spokesman for the Schools Department of the Archdiocese of Liverpool has today announced: “We have appointed seven foundation governors to the newly reconstituted governing body of Leyland St Mary’s High School.

“The reconstitution brings significant new expertise onto the governing body, as well as ensuring continuity with the inclusion of some governors from the previous body.

“The new body has only 12 members in line with current Government best practice thinking, and as many as four of these are parents of pupils attending the school.

“The Archdiocese sees this as a positive step forward in helping to engender parental confidence in the school in line with Ofsted recommendations.”

Ofsted warned that the school does not communicate effectively with parents, who inspectors found had “lost confidence in the school”.

The new governing body will have its first meeting on January 22, when it is anticipated that they will elect John Lumb as chairman.

The newly appointed governors are all governors elsewhere in the Archdiocese and include a recently retired headteacher, a headteacher of an ‘outstanding’ primary school, and a former senior education officer for Lancashire County Council.

“Some of the foundation governors also bring experience of helping schools designated as requiring special measures to improve quickly in order to become good again,” the spokesman added.

The other five governors include the existing local authority governor, Leyland councillor Michael Green, two of the existing parent governors, and headteacher Kathy McNicholas.

There will be an election to enable staff at the school to vote for a staff governor to complete the 12.