On the board

HELEN MASKEW is a governor at Tenbury Wells junior and infant school in Worcestershire. She is an adviser on special needs for

Birmingham local authority.

What made you want to be a governor? I was dragooned by a neighbour who found out I was involved in education; that was 1996. Has the experience fulfilled your expectations? I wasn't sure what to expect. But I have been impressed by the way things are run, it's been a positive experience.

What dodon't you like? I do like being involved with the school but regret that I can't be more involved, because I have a full-time job. I'd like to be involved more with literacy and numeracy. I feel I am valued for my professional advice on special needs.

What is the biggest, best or worst change you've seen during your time as a governor?

Change has not been dramatic, but there has been a steady increase in bureaucracy and paperwork that we're all expected to read, butdon't have time for. It has an undermining effect because governors feel guilty. But no one could remember it all, anyway, so it's self-defeating, really.

What does your family think of your commitment? My husband is rather tickled by it. He likes to go into the pub and say Helen's a governor, it's a respectable thing to be.

Where does governing fit into your life? Full-time job means that it's about third on my list of priorities.

If you could wave a wand, what would you wish for the school?

If I could win the lottery I would give it a lot of money, to make an even better school in an area which is quite deprived, to enrich pupils' lives.

I'm talking about the built environment, and you can only build with money.

And who or what would you make disappear? Petty bureau-cracy, and people who can't keep promises.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor? Edwina Currie, I think she's a mover.


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