A sense of duty

Evelyn Thompson has been a local education authority governor at Hollybush primary school, Hertford, for four years. She was nominated by her local political (Labour) group at a branch meeting. "Governorship is a public duty," she says "and as a primary teacher for 35 years I felt I had time and experience to give in my retirement."

She sees her role as "quietly supportive of the headteacher". Her governorship benefits from her availability to visit the school while it is in operation. "I like having children around me. I help out in the school library and am careful not to interfere. I am thrilled to be able to attend all the school events, to be part of the life of the school."

Evelyn believes governors contribute to the ethos of policies. "I enjoy "nitty gritty" policy making. For example, after the Dunblane tragedy the governors made an effective contribution to developing security and emergency policies as these relate to a small school. I am on the personnel and the finance committees and I am looking at under-fives' provision with a teacher governor. "

Evelyn sometimes finds it irksome "jockeying around my own comings and goings with the many evening meetings", but she sees governorship as a serious business and does not like to miss meetings. "I've watched the surprise on new governors' faces when they start to appreciate the amount of evening work. "

Evelyn has a bee in her bonnet, born of her political convictions, about schools fund-raising for essentials such as books.

"I don't feel parents should subsidise the state's responsibility in this way," she says. This is why she opposed the school seeking sponsorship for any of its security measures.

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