On the board

Pauline Sergeant, 52, is a co-opted governor at Crowcroft primary in inner-city Manchester. The school has about 250 pupils from mixed backgrounds and a substantial transient population. She has had five children at the school, and one grandchild. She has been a governor for 10 years.

What made you want to be a governor?

When the children were at school I wanted to do my bit. I felt I couldn't moan if I wasn't there, it's a bit like not voting and then moaning that your party didn't get in.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

I don't think I had many, I came with an open mind, willing to learn. I'm still learning.

What dodon't you like?

There's less time to teach the children, and so much paperwork from the Government, saying "do this, do that". I like it that we have a lot of partnership with the community and parents.

Has the experience changed you?

I have more of an insight into what goes on in a school and how difficult it is for teachers. I had lost sight of who I was after years at home, but being a governor brought me out. I started studying and won student of the year. I am involved with many other committees too.

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

There's so much paperwork, you could lose sight of the children if you were not dedicated enough, it's all too much like a business.

What does your family think of your commitment?

They're all for it and proud of me. They've done very well, two went to university, two to college and my youngest is in high school.

Where does governing fit into your life?

It takes up a fair amount of timebut I have learned to prioritise and slot things in. Policy-making is a good thing, but takes so much time.

What would you wish for?

That all the paperwork be done in no time at all so teachers have time and energy to deal with the children. I'd also have time built in to ease their stress. I'd like them to have so many days off a month!

And who or what would you make disappear?

Paperwork!

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Maya Angelou. Because she's a woman of vision, with lots of spirit and get up and go. She's a strong powerful person who is comfortable in herself.

Janet Prescott

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