COLIN HARTLEY is chair of governors at North Halifax grammar school in Calderdale. He started his governor involvement at a local primary, and became parent-governor and then foundation governor at North Halifax. He works as an administrator at a large comprehensive in the Bradford area.
What made you want to be a governor?
I felt I had something to offer, and wanted to serve the community. I was a former student of North Halifax grammar in one of its previous guises. I work in a very different school and I feel it helps to have that experience.
Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?
Yes, it is really enriching, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
What dodon't you like?
I like every aspect. I like the interaction with staff and students and the partnership between school and parents. There is very little I don't like, except perhaps the bureaucratic burdens.
Has the experience changed you?
Yes. It has given me more confidence. It has also given me an insight into how other people work. Schools are mini-communities and since I have been chair it brings home to me how very complex these are.
What is the biggest, best orworst change you've seen during your time as a governor?
Probably the biggest was the introduction of the grant maintained system. I was fairly upbeat about it but it seemed to me there was a lot of pointless upset. I am glad schools and the local authorities are getting closer again. Things had started to break up in Calderdale (the local authority) where so many schools went grant-maintained.
What does your family think of your commitment?
My wife thinks the burden is
too great. But you can't do it by halves, you have to do it
Where does governing fit into your life?
It's a very important part of my life. I make time for it, in fact I look on it as relaxation!
If you could wave a wand, what would you wish for the school?
I would wish for more equal funding. Education is underfunded and there is little slack.
And who or what would you make disappear?
There is much talk about national standards, the national curriculum and national pay norms, but there is no national funding for schools, and no
measurements of the way different authorities perform. I would like to see a level playing field.