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On the board

INDIA-BORN Sailesh Mehta, right, came to England in 1961 and has been living in Chiswick, west London, since 1963. A partner in an accountancy firm, he has been a co-opted governor at his alma mater, Chiswick community school, since 1988, and at his children's primary, Grove Park, since 1995.

What made you want to be a governor?

Initially, to give back something to the school that gave me a good start and be involved in the community. It was also a challenge, particularly with the start of local management of schools.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

I have enjoyed it. I thought I would have little to offer because of my lack of experience in education. But my business experience proved important and I found I was making a difference.

What don't you like?

The volume of paper; the disregard by the Government of governors' and teachers' views; the passing of greater responsibilities to governors without consideration of their ability to cope; the lack of resources; inspections; the abdication of responsibility by many parents to schools of the upbringing of their children in relation to civility, good manners, honesty and trthfulness.

Has the experience changed you?

I suspect so, but I'm not sure how. My already high respect for teachers has grown after seeing what they put up with.

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

The biggest was LMS. The pressures this created were quite frightening. The best was throwing out nursery vouchers, and the worst will be performance-related pay because it's divisive.

Where does governing fit into your life?

It sometimes seems to take over!

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

More resources, particularly for computers, at the secondary. A new boiler at Grove Park, and playground equipment. And more pay for teachers.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Administrative work for teachers. Also funding of schools on a pupil basis, when so many costs are fixed. No business would fund itself in this manner.

Who would be your fantasy


Billy Connolly - meetings would be well-attended, and a laugh. Also Darth Vader, to deal with anything the Government and education authorities do that we don't like.

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