‘Governors committed to boosting Bicester Community College’

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Education Secretary Michael Gove

First published in News
Last updated

THE CHAIRMAN of governors at a secondary school plunged into special measures last night said he and his colleagues were committed to helping it improve.

Oxfordshire County Council wants Education Secretary Michael Gove to sack the governors of Bicester Community College and replace them with an interim executive board after a damning Ofsted report.

Pupil achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management were given the lowest rating, level four.

The board of governors was criticised for not acting quickly enough to improve the quality of teaching and achievement of pupils since the last inspection in 2010.

But last night chairman of governors Roger Dyson defended the board and said it was two-thirds of the way through a three-year improvement initiative when Ofsted arrived.

In a statement he said: “The governing body has been working over the past two years with the new head to support him in his challenging role of implementing the pre-agreed three-year programme of improvements — this programme of transition has taken longer to come to fruition although it is acknowledged that progress is being made.

“While the results are disappointing, the Ofsted report draws a line in time, and will focus all leaders on the critical areas.

“We welcome this support and attention to help build on the progress to date and improve on last year’s results, which were in fact the third best results ever achieved by our students.”

The county council has applied to the Department for Education to sack the 18-strong governing body.

But Mr Dyson said none of the governors had stepped down and the board would remain in place until a decision was made by Mr Gove.

Comments (24)

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11:45am Wed 13 Feb 13

citizensunite says...

This is the first time I think I have heard the governors of this school speak!
I think, however, we have heard the tired excuse before.....'we are 2/3rds of the way through'.....and that final 1/3 at the the end of a three year plan was to move ALL of the areas which were adjudged seriously below the standard required, to satisfactory? Anyone else think that these governors should get together to produce a plan for the economy, because they must be capable of making miracles happen if this was going to be possible!
This is the first time I think I have heard the governors of this school speak! I think, however, we have heard the tired excuse before.....'we are 2/3rds of the way through'.....and that final 1/3 at the the end of a three year plan was to move ALL of the areas which were adjudged seriously below the standard required, to satisfactory? Anyone else think that these governors should get together to produce a plan for the economy, because they must be capable of making miracles happen if this was going to be possible! citizensunite
  • Score: 2

11:58am Wed 13 Feb 13

Bicester people says...

First time we have heard of a 3 yr plan that includes taking a school into special measures. What is the plan for the 3rd year? To get the school closed down? To have no applicants for Year 7 and the 6th form next year?
First time we have heard of a 3 yr plan that includes taking a school into special measures. What is the plan for the 3rd year? To get the school closed down? To have no applicants for Year 7 and the 6th form next year? Bicester people
  • Score: 3

12:53pm Wed 13 Feb 13

veryangryparent says...

No. The current board of governors have had ample opportunity to control the direction and behaviour of Mr Clarke and Mr Hollis.

I simply don't believe that the board was 'planning' for these two to crash the school into an appalling four for every single OFSTED criteria, and that the Clarke/Hollis duo would have pulled the nose of the plane up in the last year. This is a nonsense.

Mr Clarke is no doubt a fine woodwork teacher, and Mr Hollis is probably great at teaching drama (though I read of his last class of twelve, eleven failed? Is this true?), but they simply lack the ability to lead, and specifically to lead an academic institution.

The board should have recognised this within the first six months, not two years, and yet they're still denying the scale of the disaster brought on by their appointees.

The current board needs to go. Since they're too thick-skinned to realise the honourable thing would be to resign and have matters quickly move on, it looks like we'll have to muddle through a taxpayer-funded legal process.
No. The current board of governors have had ample opportunity to control the direction and behaviour of Mr Clarke and Mr Hollis. I simply don't believe that the board was 'planning' for these two to crash the school into an appalling four for every single OFSTED criteria, and that the Clarke/Hollis duo would have pulled the nose of the plane up in the last year. This is a nonsense. Mr Clarke is no doubt a fine woodwork teacher, and Mr Hollis is probably great at teaching drama (though I read of his last class of twelve, eleven failed? Is this true?), but they simply lack the ability to lead, and specifically to lead an academic institution. The board should have recognised this within the first six months, not two years, and yet they're still denying the scale of the disaster brought on by their appointees. The current board needs to go. Since they're too thick-skinned to realise the honourable thing would be to resign and have matters quickly move on, it looks like we'll have to muddle through a taxpayer-funded legal process. veryangryparent
  • Score: 2

1:02pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Severian says...

I thought the LAST Ofsted inspection had drawn a line under the past.

You can only draw so many lines before someone takes action, and it is clear that the DfE will certainly do it here.

Three poor and one failed inspection in a row is not any basis on which to keep promising that things will get better. And the sooner the Governors accept their share of the blame the better.
I thought the LAST Ofsted inspection had drawn a line under the past. You can only draw so many lines before someone takes action, and it is clear that the DfE will certainly do it here. Three poor and one failed inspection in a row is not any basis on which to keep promising that things will get better. And the sooner the Governors accept their share of the blame the better. Severian
  • Score: 2

7:00pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Alyalyaly says...

The sooner the IEB and Tim Wintringham are in place at BCC , the better, his first job will be to sack All the Governors, the Head and members ( I think all should go ) of the SLT.
The sooner the IEB and Tim Wintringham are in place at BCC , the better, his first job will be to sack All the Governors, the Head and members ( I think all should go ) of the SLT. Alyalyaly
  • Score: 2

10:06pm Wed 13 Feb 13

retiredteacher1949 says...

This 3 year plan was in its 2nd term of the third year, in fact with less than 2 weeks to go of the term.
What more can be achieved in a term, when the remaining 2 years and 2 terms have achieved nothing but a massive step backward?
This 3 year plan was in its 2nd term of the third year, in fact with less than 2 weeks to go of the term. What more can be achieved in a term, when the remaining 2 years and 2 terms have achieved nothing but a massive step backward? retiredteacher1949
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Wed 13 Feb 13

retiredteacher1949 says...

Alyalyaly wrote:
The sooner the IEB and Tim Wintringham are in place at BCC , the better, his first job will be to sack All the Governors, the Head and members ( I think all should go ) of the SLT.
Not all of the members of the SLT are culpable for this mess. So they shouldn't all go, just the two with the most power.
There were technically 6 members of the SLT last year (with 3 assistant heads, the 2 deputies and the head) and there is a new post available. Whether this replaces one of the assistant positions I'm not sure, but they are not all to blame for this.
[quote][p][bold]Alyalyaly[/bold] wrote: The sooner the IEB and Tim Wintringham are in place at BCC , the better, his first job will be to sack All the Governors, the Head and members ( I think all should go ) of the SLT.[/p][/quote]Not all of the members of the SLT are culpable for this mess. So they shouldn't all go, just the two with the most power. There were technically 6 members of the SLT last year (with 3 assistant heads, the 2 deputies and the head) and there is a new post available. Whether this replaces one of the assistant positions I'm not sure, but they are not all to blame for this. retiredteacher1949
  • Score: 1

1:08am Thu 14 Feb 13

Severian says...

retiredteacher1949 wrote:
Alyalyaly wrote:
The sooner the IEB and Tim Wintringham are in place at BCC , the better, his first job will be to sack All the Governors, the Head and members ( I think all should go ) of the SLT.
Not all of the members of the SLT are culpable for this mess. So they shouldn't all go, just the two with the most power.
There were technically 6 members of the SLT last year (with 3 assistant heads, the 2 deputies and the head) and there is a new post available. Whether this replaces one of the assistant positions I'm not sure, but they are not all to blame for this.
It is easy to blame the entire management and staff at BCC for this crisis, but I think that is probably grossly unfair.

There are many good staff there, and quite a lot of new and inexperienced teachers, who need help and support not constant criticism.

There are though a few at the top (and the entire Board of Governors) who will have to go to clear the way for the fresh start that is obviously needed.

I assume the IEB will have a pretty clear idea of who to move on, but I do hope it isn't a complete clean out. The school needs at least some continuity and too many changes will do more harm than good.
[quote][p][bold]retiredteacher1949[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alyalyaly[/bold] wrote: The sooner the IEB and Tim Wintringham are in place at BCC , the better, his first job will be to sack All the Governors, the Head and members ( I think all should go ) of the SLT.[/p][/quote]Not all of the members of the SLT are culpable for this mess. So they shouldn't all go, just the two with the most power. There were technically 6 members of the SLT last year (with 3 assistant heads, the 2 deputies and the head) and there is a new post available. Whether this replaces one of the assistant positions I'm not sure, but they are not all to blame for this.[/p][/quote]It is easy to blame the entire management and staff at BCC for this crisis, but I think that is probably grossly unfair. There are many good staff there, and quite a lot of new and inexperienced teachers, who need help and support not constant criticism. There are though a few at the top (and the entire Board of Governors) who will have to go to clear the way for the fresh start that is obviously needed. I assume the IEB will have a pretty clear idea of who to move on, but I do hope it isn't a complete clean out. The school needs at least some continuity and too many changes will do more harm than good. Severian
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Thu 14 Feb 13

concernedtat says...

what astounds me is NO ONE is responsible for the dire state of the school, it is OUR children's lives they have played about with they only get to do their education once, they don't have 2 years to get it wrong, someone needs to be apologising and showing the way forward instead of the drivel the governing body and Mr Clarke and Hollis are sprouting
what astounds me is NO ONE is responsible for the dire state of the school, it is OUR children's lives they have played about with they only get to do their education once, they don't have 2 years to get it wrong, someone needs to be apologising and showing the way forward instead of the drivel the governing body and Mr Clarke and Hollis are sprouting concernedtat
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Want justice for our kids says...

Wow so that's what he looks like...... Try opening your emails or answer our complaints and we wouldn't be in this situation...... You should be first to go!!!
Wow so that's what he looks like...... Try opening your emails or answer our complaints and we wouldn't be in this situation...... You should be first to go!!! Want justice for our kids
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Thu 14 Feb 13

citizensunite says...

Want justice for our kids wrote:
Wow so that's what he looks like...... Try opening your emails or answer our complaints and we wouldn't be in this situation...... You should be first to go!!!
I think you'll find the photo is of Mr Gove........not Mr Dyson!
[quote][p][bold]Want justice for our kids[/bold] wrote: Wow so that's what he looks like...... Try opening your emails or answer our complaints and we wouldn't be in this situation...... You should be first to go!!![/p][/quote]I think you'll find the photo is of Mr Gove........not Mr Dyson! citizensunite
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Want justice for our kids says...

There we go then I don't know what he looks like!!
There we go then I don't know what he looks like!! Want justice for our kids
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Severian says...

concernedtat wrote:
what astounds me is NO ONE is responsible for the dire state of the school, it is OUR children's lives they have played about with they only get to do their education once, they don't have 2 years to get it wrong, someone needs to be apologising and showing the way forward instead of the drivel the governing body and Mr Clarke and Hollis are sprouting
The legal position is clear - the Governors are responsible.

What they are claiming though is that while they are responsible, they are not to blame, so everything should just carry on as before.
[quote][p][bold]concernedtat[/bold] wrote: what astounds me is NO ONE is responsible for the dire state of the school, it is OUR children's lives they have played about with they only get to do their education once, they don't have 2 years to get it wrong, someone needs to be apologising and showing the way forward instead of the drivel the governing body and Mr Clarke and Hollis are sprouting[/p][/quote]The legal position is clear - the Governors are responsible. What they are claiming though is that while they are responsible, they are not to blame, so everything should just carry on as before. Severian
  • Score: 0

5:08pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Parent12 says...

This sets a very bad example for the next generation, with their poor excuses for failure and clutching at straws just to keep their positions. If they stay, the good people of Bicester will fight for their removal.
How can they possibly propose struggling on without the support of the parents and wider community?
Come to think of it - what has the parent governor got to say for herself?
She clearly is not representing the interests of the parents.
If you take a position in public service, be it voluntary or paid, expect to be held to account for your acts and omissions. Lead by example - resign and never return to public office!
This sets a very bad example for the next generation, with their poor excuses for failure and clutching at straws just to keep their positions. If they stay, the good people of Bicester will fight for their removal. How can they possibly propose struggling on without the support of the parents and wider community? Come to think of it - what has the parent governor got to say for herself? She clearly is not representing the interests of the parents. If you take a position in public service, be it voluntary or paid, expect to be held to account for your acts and omissions. Lead by example - resign and never return to public office! Parent12
  • Score: 0

5:36pm Thu 14 Feb 13

concernedtat says...

doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean?
Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?
doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it? concernedtat
  • Score: 0

10:56pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Want justice for our kids says...

concernedtat wrote:
doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?
That's the million pound question...... If they had any decency they would resign, but then again being paid all that money to walk around like thugs is an easy job!!
[quote][p][bold]concernedtat[/bold] wrote: doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?[/p][/quote]That's the million pound question...... If they had any decency they would resign, but then again being paid all that money to walk around like thugs is an easy job!! Want justice for our kids
  • Score: 0

1:36am Fri 15 Feb 13

Severian says...

Want justice for our kids wrote:
concernedtat wrote:
doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?
That's the million pound question...... If they had any decency they would resign, but then again being paid all that money to walk around like thugs is an easy job!!
Be fair - the Chair of Governors job is not paid. All of the governors do this of their own free will for no pay.

The politicians can at least put on their election leaflets that they are involved in overseeing the school. Though I doubt Cllr Nick Mawer will be putting this on HIS election leaflets in the future!
[quote][p][bold]Want justice for our kids[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]concernedtat[/bold] wrote: doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?[/p][/quote]That's the million pound question...... If they had any decency they would resign, but then again being paid all that money to walk around like thugs is an easy job!![/p][/quote]Be fair - the Chair of Governors job is not paid. All of the governors do this of their own free will for no pay. The politicians can at least put on their election leaflets that they are involved in overseeing the school. Though I doubt Cllr Nick Mawer will be putting this on HIS election leaflets in the future! Severian
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Amnesia says...

The Ofsted report is quite clear in that

"A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors."

The board and head can claim what they like. With this report I have no doubt they will be told to leave. They should do the right thing for the school and for themselves and go now with as much dignity as they can muster.
The Ofsted report is quite clear in that "A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors." The board and head can claim what they like. With this report I have no doubt they will be told to leave. They should do the right thing for the school and for themselves and go now with as much dignity as they can muster. Amnesia
  • Score: 0

8:01pm Fri 15 Feb 13

retiredteacher1949 says...

Amnesia wrote:
The Ofsted report is quite clear in that

"A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors."

The board and head can claim what they like. With this report I have no doubt they will be told to leave. They should do the right thing for the school and for themselves and go now with as much dignity as they can muster.
Well said. People defending the head, and there have been quite a few, obviously don't understand the seriousness of this judgement.
Anyone getting second chances will commit the same errors and a clean break has to be made.
[quote][p][bold]Amnesia[/bold] wrote: The Ofsted report is quite clear in that "A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors." The board and head can claim what they like. With this report I have no doubt they will be told to leave. They should do the right thing for the school and for themselves and go now with as much dignity as they can muster.[/p][/quote]Well said. People defending the head, and there have been quite a few, obviously don't understand the seriousness of this judgement. Anyone getting second chances will commit the same errors and a clean break has to be made. retiredteacher1949
  • Score: 0

11:26pm Sat 16 Feb 13

Sechead says...

concernedtat wrote:
what astounds me is NO ONE is responsible for the dire state of the school, it is OUR children's lives they have played about with they only get to do their education once, they don't have 2 years to get it wrong, someone needs to be apologising and showing the way forward instead of the drivel the governing body and Mr Clarke and Hollis are sprouting
I have to agree with this point. It is the kids that count. I am an ex-student of BCC and now a Secondary Headteacher of a school in Birmingham. We have moved from Satisfactory to Outstanding (December 2012) in the same 3 years. The school was in turmoil previously (5 Heads in 5 years!). Of course long term planning is essential but it can't be hidden behind. I do feel for the Head. It's a thankless job, but one that is so rewarding, and you know what you are letting yourself in for when you apply. It comes with great responsibility and accountability. My motto is "No excuses". If my place does badly, I make it very clear I feel personally responsible to my staff and leadership team. As for the future, I can't see the situation being retrievable without something radical. There is too much bad blood. A new beginning, with a temporary IEB might be what's needed. Whatever happens, it need to be quick and effective. I go back to the initial comment - Kids' futures are at stake, and ultimately, that's what the business of education is about - Young people, their achievement, and their well-being. Everything else is just noise.
[quote][p][bold]concernedtat[/bold] wrote: what astounds me is NO ONE is responsible for the dire state of the school, it is OUR children's lives they have played about with they only get to do their education once, they don't have 2 years to get it wrong, someone needs to be apologising and showing the way forward instead of the drivel the governing body and Mr Clarke and Hollis are sprouting[/p][/quote]I have to agree with this point. It is the kids that count. I am an ex-student of BCC and now a Secondary Headteacher of a school in Birmingham. We have moved from Satisfactory to Outstanding (December 2012) in the same 3 years. The school was in turmoil previously (5 Heads in 5 years!). Of course long term planning is essential but it can't be hidden behind. I do feel for the Head. It's a thankless job, but one that is so rewarding, and you know what you are letting yourself in for when you apply. It comes with great responsibility and accountability. My motto is "No excuses". If my place does badly, I make it very clear I feel personally responsible to my staff and leadership team. As for the future, I can't see the situation being retrievable without something radical. There is too much bad blood. A new beginning, with a temporary IEB might be what's needed. Whatever happens, it need to be quick and effective. I go back to the initial comment - Kids' futures are at stake, and ultimately, that's what the business of education is about - Young people, their achievement, and their well-being. Everything else is just noise. Sechead
  • Score: 2

12:04pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Braganca says...

Q. Who has access to governing body minutes?
A. The minutes are a public document once they have been agreed by the governing body. The minutes should be available in school for anyone to inspect. This also applies to committee minutes. Confidential minutes should be kept separately and are not public documents.

That's official. There is no secret about the identity of governors or what has been agreed at meetings. Simply contact the school and say you are coming in to inspect the minutes of recent meetings. Simple as that.
Q. Who has access to governing body minutes? A. The minutes are a public document once they have been agreed by the governing body. The minutes should be available in school for anyone to inspect. This also applies to committee minutes. Confidential minutes should be kept separately and are not public documents. That's official. There is no secret about the identity of governors or what has been agreed at meetings. Simply contact the school and say you are coming in to inspect the minutes of recent meetings. Simple as that. Braganca
  • Score: 0

12:42am Wed 20 Feb 13

Severian says...

Talk about going for the jugular! I got a leaflet today from the Heyford Free School which is being delivered to the catchment area for BCC telling people about the places at their wonderful new school which opens in September (but which still looked like a run-down old army building when I drove past it on Saturday).

Looks like they want to grab some of the BCC kids if they can.
Talk about going for the jugular! I got a leaflet today from the Heyford Free School which is being delivered to the catchment area for BCC telling people about the places at their wonderful new school which opens in September (but which still looked like a run-down old army building when I drove past it on Saturday). Looks like they want to grab some of the BCC kids if they can. Severian
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Severian says...

This story is now redundant as the LEA sacked the entire board of governors today.
This story is now redundant as the LEA sacked the entire board of governors today. Severian
  • Score: 0

8:18pm Wed 13 Mar 13

Nick Mawer says...

Severian wrote:
Want justice for our kids wrote:
concernedtat wrote:
doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?
That's the million pound question...... If they had any decency they would resign, but then again being paid all that money to walk around like thugs is an easy job!!
Be fair - the Chair of Governors job is not paid. All of the governors do this of their own free will for no pay.

The politicians can at least put on their election leaflets that they are involved in overseeing the school. Though I doubt Cllr Nick Mawer will be putting this on HIS election leaflets in the future!
Severian,
I think that you had better apologise to me. I was a Governor at Bicester Community College for less than a year. I resigned because I could not devote the amount of time to that job that it properly required. I will not be mentioning this fact on my next election literature because it will not be relevant.
I would have liked to have responded to the other article where you Steve 1955 posted some fairly snide and unjustified remarks, but it seems that comments are closed there.
I await your apology.
[quote][p][bold]Severian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Want justice for our kids[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]concernedtat[/bold] wrote: doesn't help that the chair of governors and Mr Clarke are buddies so I have been lead to believe.... who was it who said new broom sweeps clean? Clearly this is what is needed question is how do we go about getting it?[/p][/quote]That's the million pound question...... If they had any decency they would resign, but then again being paid all that money to walk around like thugs is an easy job!![/p][/quote]Be fair - the Chair of Governors job is not paid. All of the governors do this of their own free will for no pay. The politicians can at least put on their election leaflets that they are involved in overseeing the school. Though I doubt Cllr Nick Mawer will be putting this on HIS election leaflets in the future![/p][/quote]Severian, I think that you had better apologise to me. I was a Governor at Bicester Community College for less than a year. I resigned because I could not devote the amount of time to that job that it properly required. I will not be mentioning this fact on my next election literature because it will not be relevant. I would have liked to have responded to the other article where you Steve 1955 posted some fairly snide and unjustified remarks, but it seems that comments are closed there. I await your apology. Nick Mawer
  • Score: 0

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