A LOCAL authority is facing calls for greater transparency on problems at a secondary school amid claims that the “information vacuum” is damaging for pupils and staff.
North Yorkshire County Council’s own councillors are concerned that the authority is refusing to reveal the circumstances which led to Richmond School’s entire governing body resigning.
Although the authority has previously stated that the relationship between the governing body and the senior leadership team at the school had broken down, the reasons for this have not been revealed.
Richmondshire county councillors met with senior officers to discuss the situation this afternoon (Monday, March 3).
However, Richmond independent councillor Stuart Parsons said while the councillors had been given very limited information about what had occurred, they had been told not to reveal it.
He said: “Parents and pupils need to know what has happened.
“If in February 2013 when Ofsted visited the governing body was working well within the school, what has happened in the last year to change that?”
Upper Dales councillor John Blackie was also critical of the authority’s decision to withhold information from the public.
He said: “As long as there is an information vacuum about what exactly happened to cause the whole governing body at Richmond School to resign en bloc, you will have gossip, innuendo and wild speculation taking its place and that is not helping the students at the school.
“We need to deal with the situation sooner rather than later as a county council."
It has emerged that prior to the governors resigning, the body had been issued with a warning notice by the county council - a measure used when the local education authority believes there is a serious breakdown in the way a school is being governed that could damage its performance.
Coun Michael Heseltine, who represents North Richmondshire, said details of the dispute had to remain confidential.
However, he added: “I’m confident that everything is being done to ensure that the education of the students in the school isn’t affected as a result of what’s happening.
“The county council education director is doing everything he can as quickly as possible to deal with the matter.”