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A few answers to these 20 straightforward questions would make my role as a governor easier to understand.

1 Why are pupils in my primary "worth" Pounds 90 a head less than the national average, when teachers' pay scales are set nationally and we pay some of the highest water and electricity charges in the country?

2 How can we implement our three-year school development plan when we have no idea what funding we will receive from year to year?

3 How can we implement the special needs code of practice when recent budget settlements threaten learning support staff?

4 Where is the career structure for teachers when highly-qualified, but expensive, staff are made redundant?

5 What has happened to the flexibility which used to allow staff to change jobs to gain experience?

6 Why, when completing Form 7, does the computer management system (SIMS) reject the figure 36 as invalid for the number of pupils in an infant class?

7 How can we provide adequately for under-5s when infant auxiliary hours are under threat?

8 Does the Chief Inspector of Schools advocate a return to whole class teaching because it is more effective or because it's cheaper?

9 What will OFSTED say when we find we can't fully implement our action plan through lack of money?

10 Will anyone notice if we save money by not having the electrical appliances checked this year?

11 If money is so tight, why does the DFE spend so much money on glossy publications and advertising campaigns?

12 Why are the phone lines at county hall permanently engaged?

13 Is it appropriate to ask Year 6 to cut the grass as part of their environmental project?

14 Why are we reducing support staff when more children need individual help for speech and behaviour problems?

15 If we don't buy into the advisory service this year, will it still be there if we need it in the future?

16 How do the staff cope, knowing that we will probably have to make one of them redundant?

17 Do the children mind sharing one book between four?

18 Why does my head want to retire early?

19 Why am I a governor?

20 Will any one want to become a governor in the future?

Pat Telfer Brunton is chairman of governors at St Mary's voluntary-controlled School, Truro, and is secretary of Cornwall's branch of the National Association of Governors and Managers.

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