PARENTS reacted with anger to news that Oxford School’s board of Governors has been removed.

The 15-strong board has been told an application to replace it with an interim executive board (IEB) has been approved by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

IEBs can only be installed following approval from the Education Secretary Ed Balls if he feels the current governing body “is incapable, even with support, of turning the school around”.

Mr Balls’ department made its decision after Oxfordshire County Council applied for permission in September to make Oxford School the first county secondary with an IEB.

Last night parents described the move as “disruptive”, and a “stitch-up” designed to ease through plans to replace the 1,100-pupil school with an academy for three- to 19-year-olds.

Anna Thorne, who was vice chairman of the axed governing board and has twin boys at the school, said: “It came as quite a shock. I think it’s a complete stitch-up so the local authority can push through its academy agenda. It’s appalling and undemocratic. I’m concerned for the school and for the pupils as they now have yet more uncertainty.”

Jeremy Spafford, who has a daughter in Year 10, said: “I think it’s outrageous and I don’t understand it.

“The governing body seemed to me to be representative of various bits of the community and focused on trying to help the school. This is very disruptive.”

Chairman of the disbanded governors Larry Sanders, who is also a member of the county council, said he was “dreadfully disappointed”.

He pointed to this year’s improved GCSE results at the school, and said: “For the first time we had a proper ethnic mix that was representative of the school community.

“We believed we were the best team to bring about sustained improvements.”

The council issued a formal notice to the governing body criticising its governance in September. It submitted its IEB application days after the then chairman Chris Ballinger and seven other board members resigned, but before they were replaced.

Mr Ballinger is now one of seven members of the IEB responsible for governing the school.

County Hall spokesman Owen Morton said: “The county council took the view that the former governing body could not provide the school with the necessary focus to make rapid progress.

“In addition eight members of the board, including the chairman, submitted letters of resignation indicating they did not consider it an effective governing body.

“We believe the appointment of an IEB at Oxford School will bring about a positive change in governance and make a major contribution to overall improvement.”