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On the board

Margaret Walker is a diocesan governor and chair at two Church of England primary schools in inner-city Manchester - St Andrews voluntary aided and St James controlled in Levenshulme. A retired head, she has been a governor for 10 years, and is also a member of the General Synod of the C of E.

What made you want to be a governor?

I felt I could serve some useful purpose. I really enjoyed my time in teaching.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

As far as the contact with school and the management, yes. But heads are further away from the classroom than they used to be. Really it's what you put into it. I go into school constantly and I also play the piano, so I'm there a lot when there are performances to practise for. My schools welcome governors with open arms.

What dodon't you like?

All the paperwork. You find that you've just got a policy working and you have to change it. Luckily Manchester LEA is very good at producing policies, and we have great governor support.

What is the biggest, best or worst change you've seen?

The biggest is the handling of the school budget. Recently, the best has been extra funds available to use through Excellence in Cities.

What does your family think of your commitment?

They've learned to live with it and they know it is a useful thing to do. Where does governing fit into your life?

It fits in quite closely with my commitment to the General Synod. I said I would give 10 years to the community and I am well on the way to that now.

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

For St James I would like more space, and not to have to fill teaching posts from a supply unit. I would like help in every classroom: through Excellence in Cities we now have learning mentors and support assistants and it makes such a difference.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Bureaucracy.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Not a high profile person. Our local MP Gerald Kaufman is always available for us, but on the governing body I'd like somebody ordinary, caring and who was prepared to join in, take a responsible role and tie in with their allotted subjects. We have lots of them!

Janet Prescott

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