12th June 1998 at 01:00
Q. As a teacher-governor I accept that like other governors I must give up a considerable amount of my own time. But meetings are unnecessarily prolonged and I find it unacceptable to spend four hours over protracted discussion when I have to teach a class in the morning. Is this unreasonable?

A. No, not at all, and I welcome your acceptance that we all have to give time to our governor duties after doing a day's work.

We should all remember that teachers have to be effective from about 8.30 next morning, and restrain ourselves accordingly. I also believe concentration wanes after three hours or so, and then silly decisions are often made. Two-hour meetings are preferable to one that lasts four hours. But we all have to decide together how to manage the workload. I believe this is possible with good meeting planning and management - and proper delegation to committees.

Committees open to all governors as well as core members broaden knowledge, obviate the suspicion that too few are involved in decisions, and give the chair a good reason to clamp down on re-runs of earlier debate. Having one business meeting and one "issues" meeting a term works well for some bodies, the latter giving time to talk round subjects not yet at the agenda stage and to plan work.

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