Question: When my governor colleagues are moaning about cuts, where do I as a local education authority governor stand? I am of course in a sense a party to the county council's decision even though I am in fact of the opposition party. I feel as strongly as my fellow governors do when I see how it affects schools and indeed voted against the package. Can I join in the school's representations or am I supposed to defend the cuts?

Answer: Like any other governor you put the school first when you decide what action to take as a governor. A former majority party senior councillor was once our chairman and he spoke publicly against his party when he realised how their proposal affected schools. He had to stand by the decision once made, but he did his best.

But like parent and teacher governors you are also a representative (not a delegate) and have a communicating role. I believe that LEA governors should be familiar with the policies and decision of the LEA (not just their own party) and be prepared to explain them, as well as carrying back important message from the school. But when it comes to voting, protesting or any other action as a governor you behave as conscience and the school's well-being dictate.

Joan Sallis's booklet for LEA governors LEA Governors: Your Own Guide is published by Northamptonshire County Council at #163;3.95 plus p and p. It is a companion volume to her similar booklets for parent governors and teacher governors. One for business governors will be available shortly.

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