23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Ours is a two-form entry junior school - quite big enough in our opinion.

The child population is increasing, owing to new housing. The local education authority has built a new infant school but also wants to enlarge us to three-form entry. Do we have to agree? We don't want to be bigger or become a building site.

You have the right to object to the LEA's published plan, as does any school affected. But the LEA is in this case the more powerful agency because they have an obligation to provide for their population. The only question is where? There is an obvious alternative: add a junior department to their new infant school. Generally speaking the preference now is for right-through primaries. You might, as plans are at an early stage, make this point.

But have you fully considered the implications of staying as you are? Surely you will soon be oversubscribed and perhaps you will have to accept larger classes and pressure on facilities? There are plenty of successful three-form entry primary schools - but make sure you get a good deal on accommodation other than class space. I know too many enlarged schools where the halls, dining space, specialist areas and so on, are inadequate.

Our curriculum committee analyses GCSE results, on a class-by-class basis.

Our chair and some staff now think that teacher governors should be excluded from this meeting which may show up weak colleagues. As a teacher governor I think that this is absurd. It is an important meeting for all governors, and we personally welcome any analysis that helps the school improve.

I entirely agree with your last sentence. We must grow out of the inhibitions which provoked this request. Teacher governors have a right to take part in everything except pay or formal appraisal decisions on individuals and decisions where they have too personal an interest to be impartial.

Questions to Joan Sallis at The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield.

London E1W 1BX. Fax 020 7282 3202 or see governors ask_the_expert

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