Bob Allen is a governor of two schools in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. His interest started when his local secondary school faced closure. "I was a member of a local action group and we managed to save the school," he says. Having saved the school, he joined the governing body.
He is chair of John Lea secondary and link governor at Warwick primary school. He has been a governor for 10 years as a parent governor in both schools initially, then continuing as LEA governor and co-opted governor. He sees the role as one of a "watching brief, supportive but not unquestioning" and sees heads very much in charge of the day-to-day running of schools.
Bob runs his own bathroom and kitchen business and sees his technical and financial skills to the benefit of both schools.
"I enjoy seeing that the whole school is running happily and effectively. Getting to know the staff, talking to children in class and seeing them enjoy learning gives me a buzz," he says.
Bob feels too much time - "perhaps 75-80 per cent" - is spent talking about the budget. He dislikes having to make difficult decisions due to lack of money: "the worst day of my governor life was sitting with the head telling a long-serving classroom assistant that her job had to go".
"The governor's voice needs to be heard. We're an important part of the democratic process," he says.