18th May 2001 at 01:00
Joan Sallis answers your questions.

A new head has brought improvements to our large urban primary, attracting new governors. The need now is for some of the old stagers like me to let good new people have responsibility. The leadership of the governing body is stagnant. Our chair and vice-chair have been re-elected every year for eight years. There are four other long-serving governors, including me and I finish as a parent governor at Christmas.

You won't elect a new chair and vice-chair until around October and presumably you'll review committees then, so you have a whole term to play with. You must keep reminding people of your own departure, saying how delighted you'll be to see one of the new governors taking over your committee in the autumn.

But why wat? Couldn't you stand down now and set an example?

Or invent a vice-chair role just for a term and let the person concerned chair part of the meeting? You must also start talking more openly about the wider problem and try to get your head's support. Surely you can say to your long-serving colleagues that it's time for change for the school's sake?

Add that, as a senior person who's leaving soon, you plan to talk to some of these new people about their interests and suggest they consider a responsible role. You might also suggest the one-term-only "vice-chair" role for other committees, with the clear implication that the new people succeed the incumbents when you do your review.

Take the problem in stages, by all means, but don't lose the impetus.

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