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Martin Titchmarsh suggests that governors should somehow have the expertise to assess classroom practice ("An eye on standards", TES2, February 14). The idea that lay people could go into the classroom and monitor what is happening creates an expectation which overloads the governor, and throws up the old anxieties and mistrust among the staff. Quite rightly; it is the professional management team within the school, supplemented by external inspection teams, who monitor the effectiveness of the curriculum.

Classroom practice is set out in curriculum policies, and it is these which should be monitored and reviewed by governors. By building targets and performance indicators into the school development plan, by receiving progress reports and the inspection report, and by developing an action plan - that is how the governing body fulfils its role in relation to the curriculum.

It is important to establish good relations with staff; if governors are under the misapprehension that their role in the classroom is to monitor, or inspect, trust cannot develop. And suggesting that governors need expertise in the curriculum could deter people with much-needed experience from becoming governors.

Sara Clee-Cadman is a governor trainer for Gloucestershire

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