IEB at Parish Council meeting

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Derek Barnes, the chair of the Interim Executive Board (IEB) now governing Audlem St James' school, updated councillors on progress at Monday's Parish Council meeting.

He began by emphasising the word 'Interim'. The IEB has been appointed for a year and most such boards operate for 12 — 18 months although this can be shortened or lengthened depending on progress.

The IEB is accountable to the local authority, Cheshire East council, but is independent of the council.

#Focus
He said that the focus was very much on Teaching and Learning. So far, the IEB has looked at various issues that affect children — policies, procedures, actions. Some have changed, others have been tweaked.

The board members have spoken with all staff, looked at finance, assessments, tracking and obtained local authority support.

There has been a series of 'drop-ins', meeting with parents and responding to their comments and concerns.

The IEB will be holding a meeting next week with parents, carers, the Diocese and representatives of the local authority to discuss the appointment process for a new headteacher.

Derek Barnes said they will now be looking to set up a parents' council and moving towards a shadow governing body to help ensure a smooth transition when a governing body once again takes over.

#Questions
Derek answered a series of questions from councillors including detailing his own background in education.

He was asked how governors will be appointed and said this very issue was being debated by the IEB prior to the parents and carers meeting next week. He confirmed it was essential that parents take an active role and the IEB and Parents' body will meet regularly until the eventual backing off of the IEB.

He was asked why parental involvement had not been a priority in the first term under the IEB's governance as parental engagement was the only 'unsatisfactory' rating in the last OfSTED report. Teaching & Learning had been the initial focus was his response but there had been much parental engagement through the drop-ins and weekly newsletters to parents.

Under heavy questioning about the IEB's appointment, he responded that the IEB's role was to look forward and past issues were dealt with by Cheshire East council.

He confirmed that the IEB would be looking at the requirements of Special Educational Needs children, of whom there was a higher proportion at Audlem than average.

When asked what 'success' would be, he said the IEB must ensure the Teaching and Learning is the best possible so that a governing body can take over again. He will also be discussing with the IEB any involvement by the Parish Council in a future governing body.

It was agreed that the IEB will return to a future Parish Council meeting to give another report on progress.