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On the board

Doreen New, 58, is a co-opted govenor at Gorsey primary in Wilmslow, Cheshire. A mother-of-three and grandmother, she was head of an infants school for seven years and now works as an Office for Standards in Education inspector.

What made you want to be a governor?

It was by default. They approached my husband but he was already committed, so they asked me.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

My expectations were that it would keep my hand in on live issues for my OFSTED work, and that it would give me the other side of the story. It has done that quite successfully.

What dodon't you like?

I like being part of a team and being there to sort out the best opportunities for our children, but I don't like not being able to give the time that the job requires. I have been into school this week as literacy governor observing lessons and, I hope, giving useful advice.

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

Even in the two years that I've been a governor the workload has increased. Our governors are a very dedicated, super team who are all working professionals, but lack of time is an issue.

I think the hardest thing is the management of all available monies and finding out how you tap into these. Unless you have a good head and knowledgeable governors (one of our members is the chair of the education committee) it can be very difficult to know where the money is.

What does your family think of your commitment?

My husband is a governor of another high-profile school in the area and we have chats about things like performance management and support each other.

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

Space is so cramped. Parents fight to get their children in so we are always over-subscribed. The headteacher is very good at getting funds to extend the place, but even so we are all crammed in. Who or what would you make disappear?

I'd like to get rid of the stress that's involved to keep up the pace in a school which is well known for its very high results. The staff are very motivated to maintain standards but the difficulty is in keeping up the momentum.

Janet Prescott

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