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On the Board;Governors;Briefing;Interview;Caron Frame

A newly appointed teacher-governor tells Karen Thornton how she is learning to speak out

CARON FRAME, 34, became a teacher "by accident".

Finding herself jobless in her native Newport, Gwent, after working in London and going backpacking, she responded to a campaign to recruit linguists.

She has now been teaching French at Bettws high school - a large mixed comprehensive on the outskirts of her home town - for six years. She became a

teacher-governor just over a year ago.

What made you want to be a governor?

Curiosity. To see what went on behind the scenes when decisions were made.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

It's taken a while but it's started being excellent. A lot of governors are long-standing and know so much about how things work. I can now contribute and have opinions, whereas at first I was a bit nervous about it.

What don't you like?

The meetings canbe a bit long, a bit boring, especially if you have had a hard day at school.

Has the experience changed you?

It's made me more understanding of the way the school works. I'm tolerant when perhaps my department doesn't get the money we wanted. I'm able to explain to other teachers why decisions have been made

What do your family think of your commitment?

At first they thought it was a bit unusual. I think they saw it as an older person's job, but now I think they're impressed that I'm interested and taking an interest.

Where does governing fit into your life?

The meetings aren't that often, so it doesn't play a major role. It doesn't appear to be that intrusive. And the benefits outweigh the time you give up.

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

It would be a school full of children who attend regularly and get fantastic results, and we would have the resources to do what we wanted - rather than always having to prioritise. We have a list of things we need to do and gradually move up it - then something major happens and we go back down it again.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Long meetings and moaning people.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Tom Cruise. When the meetings are long, you need something pretty to look at.

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