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An inexpensive source of clerks

In her diary, Joan Dalton supports the buying in of local education authority clerks for governing bodies (TES, September 26), although bemoaning the excessive cost. She suggests that asking the school secretary to double as clerk might be sound economics but courts problems of confidentiality and conflicts of interest.

Neither of these two extremes is necessary.

I have just retired from a stint as clerk: like the governors themselves, I have been an unpaid volunteer, although the local authority pays a risible honorarium.

As a retired senior teacher, I brought to the job a fair amount of knowledge of the education service. I also attended job-specific training courses and, when necessary, referred queries to the local authority's governor support unit.

The cost of buying in to the unit's services and paying modest travelling expenses for courses was considerably less than using an LEA clerk.

There must surely be other retired teachers out there who have no wish to be governors but who could be very effective clerks.

MICHAEL J SMITH

10 Hillview North Pickenham Swaffham, Norfolk

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