A ROW over the appointment of school governors has broken out after the borough co-ordinator claimed Labour councillors had ignored a request for volunteers.
Conservative Councillor David O’Toole, who is the school governor coordinator for West Lancashire, said he was “disappointed” not to have received any enquiries from Labour councillors after he sent a request for new school governor applications to the group in June.
But Labour group leader Cllr John Fillis said the group had been planning to consider the request over the summer as many councillors were already school governors and they were keen to ensure a fair spread across the borough. He also accused Cllr O’ Toole of “behaving cynically” by speaking out over the issue before they had had an opportunity to discuss it.
Cllr O’Toole, who is a governor at Ormskirk School, said: “I sent a request for school governors to the Labour Group and its newly- elected Skelmersdale members several weeks ago and to date have not received a single reply. There are always a number of LEA vacancies for school governorships in Skelmersdale and, as the local co-ordinator, felt it only right and proper that I inform Skelmersdale Labour councillors in the hope of them accepting some of the roles on offer. I am therefore disappointed not to have received a single enquiry from a new Labour Group councillor.”
Cllr O’Toole said that as school governors, councillors can act as conduit between the council and the education authority, and help parents with issues they have.
But Labour Cllr Kevin Wright said he should be “ashamed of himself for dragging the important function of school governors into the mire of political recrimination”, adding: “I, like every Labour councillor, already contribute to our communities and becoming a councillor is an extension of this rather than a beginning – whether as a governor, trustee of West Lancs based charities, as a volunteer, and in fact a myriad of other voluntary positions.”
Lancashire County Council’s website states that governing bodies are made up from parents, school staff, members of the community, and people appointed by the local authority.
Local authorities can appoint any eligible person as an authority governor, and Lancashire invites nominations for from governing bodies, minor authorities and individuals.
Anyone interested in applying to be a governor can email Cllr.OToole@westlancs.gov.uk