THE governors at a secondary school resigned en masse after being issued with a warning notice by North Yorkshire County Council, it has emerged.

The shock resignation of the entire governing body at Richmond School took place on Monday following a dispute with the headteacher and local education authority.

Parents have demanded answers about the reasons behind the resignations, as officials have so far refused to reveal what prompted the fall-out.

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It has now emerged that a warning notice was issued to the governors under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, which is used when the local education authority believes there is a serious breakdown in the way a school is governed which is prejudicing, or likely to prejudice, standards of performance.

The former governors of Richmond School, led by chairwoman Anne Skeoch, wrote to Peter Dwyer and Janet Bates of North Yorkshire County Council's children and young peoples’ service department, to say they found the grounds on which a warning notice was based to be biased.

Their letter states: "The governing body is disturbed the local authority did not provide any substantive evidence to support the conclusions recorded in the notice; furthermore, there appeared to be a reluctance to disclose such evidence.

"You confirmed that there had been no prior discussion with any member of the governing body to test the validity of the conclusions recorded in the notice."

The letter pointed out that a 2013 Ofsted report, based upon an inspection carried out in February 2013, said "strong leadership, including the work of the governing body, is driving secure, swift and sustained improvements in students’ progress.”

The governors added: "The notice delivered by you at the meeting on Thursday, February 13, records conclusions entirely at odds with the Ofsted conclusions.

"We have concluded the combined actions of the headteacher and the local authority have fatally undermined the ability of this body to comply with its statutory duties of effectively monitoring and holding to account the school leadership team.

"Whilst we believe there are extensive grounds for challenging the notice, governors have serious reservations now as to the possibility of sound governance at the school, whether by this or a new body."

North Yorkshire County Councillor Arthur Barker has said no safeguarding issues are involved, and said an interim executive board would now be appointed, followed by a new governing body. 

"The day-to-day running of the school and the educational provision for pupils will not be affected," he said.