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Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School

Volume 533: debated on Monday 17 October 2011

4. What progress has been made towards resolving the dispute at the Cardinal Vaughan memorial school. (74421)

In the past week, I have spoken to parents at the Vaughan and the diocesan authorities. I am confident that the appointment of a new headmaster will bring new harmony.

I thank the Secretary of State most warmly for his personal efforts in trying to resolve this matter and in ensuring that, finally, the diocese caved in last week and a head teacher was appointed in line with parent wishes, but I wonder what lessons can be learned—in particular, to ensure that, in future, education authorities, whether or not diocesan, understand that the whole ethos of our policy is to enable parents, not education authorities, to have the dominant say in the governance of schools?

I thank my hon. Friend for his kind words. The Vaughan is an outstanding school, and the diocese and the Department are determined to do everything possible to ensure that it remains outstanding in the future. One of the changes that is being made in the other place by my noble Friend Lord Hill is a change to the provision that relates to governors, to ensure that parent governors and foundation governors who are drawn from the ranks of parents accurately represent the parents’ wishes, because part of the Vaughan’s success has been the close relationship between the parents who love the school and the teachers who have made it so great.