Best use of governor time

22nd December 2000 at 00:00
I was surprised to read Joan Sallis (TES, December 8) urging governors to resist some of the modernising changes being put forward by the Government in its current consultation on their role. She criticises proposals on staffing, discipline, pay and promotion and budgets.

Governors have limited time and we need to invest it where it can produce the best value for the school and the Government recognises this. Selecting teachers is a waste of governors' time. If the head and senior management team are not capable of appointing good teachers then they are in the wrong jobs and that is where governors need to focus.

Within strict guidelines, heads should be allowed to begin disciplinary proceedings against staff, knowing that their actions will be scrutinised by governrs, that staff will have the right of appeal and that their decisions will be viewed as part of their own performance and competence assessment.

Any head should be capable of managing and be allowed to manage the approved school budget once the governing body has set the guidelines. The new proposals do not take away any essential governing body powers in this area.

Governors need to ensure that there are clear and equitable policies. What they do not need to do is to become part of the operation of those policies. Heads and school senior managers need to know that they will be held to account for their decisions, not to have them taken for them.

John Carson (Primary and secondary school governor) 37 Woodborough Lane Whitehouse Farm Stockton on Tees

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