12th February 1999 at 00:00
Joan Sallis Answers your questions

You recently said that co-opting a support member was legal. Will this still be the case when an elected staff member is required next September? In our school, too many employee governors could become a problem.

I understand that governing bodies will not, when the new structure is fully implemented, be able to co-opt anyone who works in the school (ie teachers as well) or any councillor from their LEA. I suppose the logic is that, with all staff having opportunities to be elected, and with extra LEA members in some schools, there will be no need for co-options of additional members from these categories and perhaps more risk of imbalance.

Any co-optees from these categories already in post will be allowed to finish their terms of office, however.

One of my governors is a problem. Although not the chair, he is overbearing and dominates meetings. I suspect he has a private agenda - possibly to gain prominence in some local activity - and that being a governor is a stepping stone. How can I, as head, deal with him?

Heads talk about governors having "private agendas", far more often, I suspect, than the facts justify.

It can be hard to accept that anyone could do such a difficult job for love. I'm sure there are a few who merit the suspicion, but most do it because they know education is important. There are governors who are self-important and overbearing but that's a different issue.

Talk to your chair about the need for a little good-natured restraining, in the interests of other members, and about encouraging less vocal governors to get involved. There are limits to what a head can do alone - the ideal discipline is that sought by, and on behalf of, the group.

The best way to restrain excessive power in an individual is through the empowerment of others in the group. This can be achieved by explicit work-sharing practices and by gentle encouragement and praise. Such measures can start the growth of a healthy culture in which all accept responsibility for any necessary restraint of the strong and for protection of the weak.

Send questions for Joan Sallis to Agenda, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Fax 0171 782 3200.

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