AN INSPECTOR has told a school it must take immediate action after it was discovered a staff member was in a key role on its governing body.

St Stephen’s CE Primary School in Tockholes was told by Ofsted it was breaking the rules having a staff member acting as the vice chair of the school governors.

But the chief governor at the Rock Lane school said changing rules and in-creasing demands made satisfying Ofsted criteria difficult.

Rules set by the education watchdog say that staff members can be on the governing body, which oversees the headteacher, sets strategic direction and ensures accountability, but they are not allowed to have a leading role. The review at St Stephen’s was recommended as part of a follow up inspection into the school, which is rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Chair of governors Rev Terry Young said they were not initially aware of the rule.

He said: “There is an enormous amount expected of governors these days. We are not educators, but volunteers.

“The inspectorate have actually been really helpful in giving us the advice we need.

“We were putting right the mistake and had found someone else for the vice chair position when Ofsted arrived. It’s not easy to find governors.

“The Department of Education now insist that governors are qualified for each particular role. Finding suitable accountants and managers is really difficult. We usually recruit first, train later.

The Ofsted report said: “Senior leaders and governors are not taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improve-ment.”

It added: “The school should take immediate action to commission an external review of the effectiveness of the governing body.”

The school’s improvement plan was described as “weak”.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s member for education Coun Dave Harling said: “While some progress has been made, we share inspectors’ concerns about the pace of improvement.

“We are continuing to offer the school our full support in making the changes needed.

“In addition, we are working with the diocese to ensure concerns relating to the governing body are addressed and the external review of the governing body is carried out as soon possible.”