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Seek scapegoats at your peril

As chair of governors at a local primary school, I was infuriated to hear Gillian Shephard on the radio, when speaking of the problems at The Ridings school. She said "the law allows the governors and the local authority one last chance . . . and they had better get it right".

The governors are volunteers trying to do their best for the school and the local community. In the eight years I have been a governor, I have seen the workload increase dramatically, as a result of government policy. Yet when things go wrong, it is not the thrust of government policy which is questioned but the competence of the local volunteers. The implication that the governors should pull their socks up I found insulting. What will the Secretary of State do if the governors at The Ridings School do not satisfy her? The worst she can do is to relieve them of their burden - some threat!

Mrs Shephard's search for scapegoats will do nothing to improve the flow of committed people into governors' jobs. On the contrary, trying to blame the hapless governors is only likely to demoralise yet another sector of the education system. This area of public life is too important to be the plaything of soundbite politics.

WILLIAM McCARTHY Winchmore Ardley End Hatfield Heath Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire

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