2nd May 1997 at 01:00
Joan Sallis answers your questions. Q. The head says I must withdraw from a controversial discussion of a reorganisation of classes because my own child will be affected. Is this right?

A. The governors, not the head, decide if there is a special interest. In your case I think the head's claim is far-fetched. You are one of many parents (hundreds maybe) affected by a change in organisation, and it is only a short step to saying that all parent governors should be gagged. If your child were the centre of a dispute about organisation, discipline or special needs provision, say, it would be different. But if the issue, as I would guess, is changing age-grouping, all parents are concerned and probably initially hostile, and it is important that you represent them, although voting of course as conscience directs.

Q. A colleague who is a close friend is facing disciplinary action for administering one impulsive smack. As a governor I want to be on the committee to see that she gets the best possible hearing, but other governors don't want me involved. Can they refuse?

A. They can't refuse on the ground that you are a teacher, but presumably they know of the close friendship and decided you mightn't be impartial. This is their right. I am sure it will be a fair hearing, which might not be seen to be so if you were involved.

Questions such as these involving teacher governors' problems are fully covered in Joan's booklet Teacher Governors: Your Own Guide, published by Northamptonshire County Council Governor Services, County Hall, Guildhall Road, Northampton, at Pounds 3.95. Similar booklets are available from Northants for LEA and business governors, as well as parent governors

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