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On the Board;Briefing;Governors

An old hand tells Karen Thornton it's good to talk about the job.

Adrian Marsden, a retired British Telecom salesman, has been a local education authority governor since the late 1970s. Aged 75, he is a board member and former chairman of Dowson county school, a large primary in Hyde, Cheshire. He is also secretary of Tameside School Governors' Forum.

What made you want to be a governor?

My own four children - now grown up and some with children of their own.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

Yes. It's nice getting involved with the school, learning about it and - hopefully - helping. I just like being involved with other governors, parents and children, as a representative of the community.

What don't you like?

There's a certain amount of writing up that has to be done. The secretarial chores are the least enjoyable.

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

Despite much trouble, the national curriculum has been a good thing and the initiatives for raising standards are admirable and need support.

Where does governing fit into your life?

Through the governors' association, I organise meetings, write letters, attend conferences - all of which is very interesting. It's particularly good meeting governors from elsewhere, discussing problems, giving each other mutual support, and distributing news and information to local governors.

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

Money. I have been on the finance committee for quite a long time, and we are always struggling for core funding, for education generally. The Government talks a lot about the famous pound;19 billion, but core funding is not very much increased. Also the method of distribution of education budgets to councils is very haphazard. I don't know if anyone understands it, it's a mystery and very unfair. In Tameside, the average per pupil is about pound;1,800. Other authorities not so very far from us get more, and we ask why.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

An interested parent - someone who's enthusiastic about education and children.

Ted Wragg is probably my favourite person in education. He would keep us all cheerful, as he has through difficult times.

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