Shock after dismissal of all school's governors

School entrance sign
The school has a new smaller governance committee after the previous board was stood down [BBC]

A former governor has said he was shocked the whole governing committee was dismissed from their school posts "without warning".

Governors at Melksham Oak Community School in Wiltshire said they received an email "out of the blue" on 19 April telling them they were being "stepped down".

"The first I heard of it was when I received an email dismissing me as a governor," said Jon Hubbard, who had been part of its Local Governance Committee until then.

The White Horse Federation multi-academy trust, which runs the secondary school, said an interim academy board had been created which can "meet more often and have a focussed approach to the school’s priorities".

Photo of former governor Joh Hubbard
Jon Hubbard was a governor at the school until 19 April [BBC]

Mr Hubbard, who is also an independent Melksham Town and Wiltshire councillor, said he was surprised there was no warning the academy trust was going to dismiss the whole board.

"There had been nothing I had seen or heard of, that they were going to make these changes," he said.

Photo of Melksham Oak community school
The schools was opened in 2010 and has more than 1,200 pupils [Melksham Chamber of Commerce]

The school was rated good by Ofsted after its last inspection in October 2022.

Although, inspectors had noted "leaders, staff and pupils need to work together to ensure that there is a positive culture of respect."

Mr Hubbard said the school was not operating as well as it should be and there was a "very real problem" with behaviour.

"We've got a significantly increased number of suspensions and indeed, tragically, increased permanent exclusions at the school," he said.

In its dismissal letter to the governors, The White Horse Federation (TWHF) said the decision to change the board was not a criticism of their work.

It described the move as short-term and a "positive step to ensure that governance monitoring, support and challenge can be as efficient and rapid as possible to enhance future development at the school".

And TWHF said in a statement to the BBC: "Melksham Oak is on an improvement journey and TWHF recognised that Melksham Oak needed an updated transition plan.

"This is a short-term change to governance which we have put in place to achieve the rapid improvements we feel are necessary.

"Members of the IAB – a smaller, focused group – were selected based on the needs identified in the transition plan."

It added it may offer some governors roles elsewhere in the trust.

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