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On the board

Peter Burgess, 81, is chair of governors at Elliot Durham secondary in Nottingham. His 25 years' experience includes governorship in primary schools. A Labour councillor, he is a former Lord Mayor of Nottingham and chairman of the authority.

What made you want to be a governor?

It was a challenge in the early 1970s when I became a city councillor. I decided to take it on, to see what schools were like.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

Yes, it has been really invigorating. It is good to see how much better things have got over the past 25 years. There are so many more opportunities now for youngsters.

What dodon't you like?

Truancy is a constant problem.

Has it changed you?

I am much more tolerant of children. I try to be nice to all of them. I live on a high-profile council estate in Nottingham which has had a lot of bad publicity, but the children are very good.

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

The finance sub-committee gives us the chance to manage. In the old days it was all done by the education authority. I wish more parents would get involved in their children's education and speak up.

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

To do better in A-levels and GCSEs.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Nothing. I am a professional and read my papers thoroughly end to end. As a governor, that is your job, so that you can participate in everything.

Your ideal fantasy governor?

Tony Blair. He could do with some more education at times. He smiles a lot, I know, but somebody like him should get into a classroom and see what it is like.

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