Is Rebekah Brookes a ‘fit and proper’ Academy governor?

The arrest of Rebekah Brookes, former Editor of the News of the World, as part of the investigation into phone hacking and the corrupting of Police Officers raises concerns over her position as a Governor of Furness Academy in Preston.

Is such a person a suitable Governor of a school? Does she set a good example to pupils?

Chairman of Governors David Goldie told the TES “Rebekah is a really excellent governor and I hope she is able to stay with us.”. We would hope that Mr Goldie now re-considers that opinion.

Rebekah Brookes is a friend of Charles Dunstone who is the Academy sponsor. Mr Dunstone is more well known as the tycoon who runs Carphone Warehouse.

This is not the first time that an Academy’s leadership has come into question. The co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, David Ross, is the sponsor of Havelock Academy in Grimsby. He quit the board of Carphone Warehouse after it emerged he had broken City rules by failing to disclose that he was using his shares as collateral on loans.

These sorts of crisis in Academies are the product of an educational policy which believes that successful business people are inevitably the right people to run schools.

The Academies Act 2010 requires that Governors are “a fit a proper person”.

Michael Gove should step in and remove Rebekah Brookes as a Governor of Fulwood Academy as she is clearly not “fit and proper”. He should further question whether the decision to encourage media moguls and business tycoons to take over our school is a sensible policy.

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