Amateur governance? We keep you balanced

24th June 2011 at 01:00

As long ago as 1861, the Public Schools Commission was explaining why we need lay governors to scrutinise what goes on in schools - people "conversant with the requirements of public and professional life and the general progress of science and literature", rather than relying on "a single person, however able and accomplished, whose views may be more circumscribed and whose mind is liable to be unduly pressed by difficulties of detail".

What Mr Kelly seems to have failed to understand is that governance is all about getting a general view, making sure the professionals are accountable to the people they serve. There are 300,000 or so governors, willing to give up their time and energy to support schools. They represent parents and staff, the local authority (who pays the piper so surely has some right to hear the tune), and the people who live nearby. A few of them may be slackers, axe-grinders, or political stooges - but no more than in any other walk of life.

Felicity Taylor, Information for School and College Governors, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

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