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Governor grind

You cite an Office for Standards in Education report which criticises governors over their limited role in special educational needs issues and which says "on many occasions [governors] defensively stressed the fact that their services were voluntary and unpaid" (TES, May 10).

Well, quite. Week after week in The TES we read that governors are not facing up to this or that responsibility, not taking this or that on board, not involving themselves enough in this, that or the other. This at the same time that there are an estimated 60,000 vacancies on governing bodies in England and Wales.

It is arrogant and offensive for OFSTED and others to criticise governors in the same terms that they do professionals whom theyperceive as not doing their job properly.

The fact is that many governors have full-time jobs of their own to do as well as full-time families that they might like to spend time with. They give up their own time and precious evenings, often meeting their own expenses, in order to help out their local schools. They do this, in most cases, purely altruistically and, even though they might not put it this way themselves, are doing the education system a big favour by contributing as much as they do.

The Department for Education and Employment and OFSTED should realise that if more and more responsibilities for the detailed running of schools are to be heaped on governors' shoulders, and if they are then going to be criticised and called "defensive" for not devoting lots of time to all of them, then more governors will decide to pack it in altogether, and who could possibly blame them?

A M FINCH Headteacher Harpley School Globe Road London E1

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