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LOCAL education authorities are on a very tight time-scale to consult on the make-up of the new schools' forums and get them established by January, in time to advise on next year's budgets.

The Government's proposals have been considerably modified. My county would have needed a forum of more than 50 members. Now we can have 20, four of whom may be county councillors, diocesan representatives and the like. That still leaves us with 16 heads and governors to find.

These people must, the legislation says, be "in some sense elected". In practice, heads' and governors' associations will be asked to nominate representatives. These will inevitably be their most active and committed members. After all, says the LEA, the executive of the governors'

association is elected, isn't it? Well, yes, in a sense. We have annual elections but we have never had more nominations than places. Our constitution, at my urging, says no one can hold office for more than four years. I wanted an escape clause. I have been secretary for nine years.

Joan Dalton

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