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On the board

JANE Parker, 52, is a parent governor at Longdendale high school in Tameside, in the Derbyshire Dales near Manchester. She has a son at sixth-form college and a daughter in Year 10 at the school, and is nearing the end of her four-year term.

What made you want to be a governor?

When the children started primary school I spent as much time as I could on the parent-teacher association. Then as they grew older I thought it would be nice to try to give something back, to thank the school for what it had given my children.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

It's given me a much greater insight into education today. At the outset I felt, like all new governors, that you have to understand everything straight away, but you realise you don't have to understand everything, you just need to have an overview.

What dodon't you like?

The high spot was undoubtedly going to Westminster to receive our Charter Mark with the headteacher. I find the work of the governing body comes in short, sharp bursts and then for a few weeks there is not so much. That's quite good.

But I do know tha work over the four years has increased for governors, with much more responsibility. The hardest time was looking at staffing for interview panels.

Has the experience changed you?

I appreciate the workload on teachers today, and am surprised at the way they are expected to be Jacks of all trades. One almost wonders how they fit the teaching in. They have to be managers and run schools like a business with huge budgets.

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

As governors we're very lucky because in our case the school goes from strength to strength. It is all very well managed. I think we have a much easier job than some governing bodies.

Where does governing fit into your life?

The worst experience was interviewing for a deputy head. Each of us on the panel gave 26 hours to the school that week. I had to study 50 applications over one weekend.

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

A bigger budget.

And who or what would you make disappear?

The water in the back field. It's a long saga!

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