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Great expectations fulfilled;Briefing;Governors;On the board;Interview;Liz Constantinides

Victoria Neumark interviews a parent governor in north London

Liz Constantinides has been a parent governor at Hazelwood infant and junior schools in Enfield since February 1996. The schools are currently de-grouping to form separate governing bodies and she has been elected as a parent governor in the

junior school.

What made you want to be a governor?

A friend suggested it and I liked the sound of a new challenge. And I wanted to know more about the school.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

Yes, I really enjoy it. It's really interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes and how much work is involved. I appreciate the teaching staff much more now.

What don't you like?

Sitting up at 4am typing up minutes.

Has the experience changed you?

A lot. I've learned to use a computer, I'm developing typing skills, I can chair meetings. Most importantly, I've improved my grasp of things, my understanding of how the world works. For example, I sit on the premises committee and now I see how that kind of management works.

What do your family think of your commitment?

They're mostly very supportive. One of my daughters says it's boring when I go out but mostly they're fine. I used to bring the baby along until he was a year old and the governors were very accepting. I breastfed him during full governing body meetings and I think the LEA adviser was a bit gobsmacked but the governors were very supportive. And I've brought him along to premises meetings and the headteachers were very nice, encouraging.

Where does governing fit into your life?

With five children, it gives me an interest outside the home but one which also benefits the children: they all have gone or will go to Hazelwood.

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

Lots of money to give the children more staff, more facilities.

Who would be your ideal

fantasy governor?

Gervase Phinn and David Moore (HMI); they are inspirational and I feel with them we could achieve anything. On a lighter note, it would be great to have French and Saunders: they're funny, to lighten things up and they would be absolutely fabulous.

And if you could wave a wand and make someone or thing

disappear?

Grammar schools: they cream off the talent and leave the other schools feeling like failures even though they mostly do a good job.

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