On the board

1st December 2000 at 00:00
FRAN HOLLIS is chair of governors at Bishopsford community school in Merton, south London, a Fresh Start high school which opened last September. A local authority governor, she is also an executive member of the National Governors' Council

What made you want to be a governor?

I was a parent with total commitment to my sons' education and thought, if you can't beat them, join them.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

Very much so. It has enabled me to help schools be accountable. I can ask questions that help to focus the school.

What dodon't you like?

Paperwork has increased tremendously. If you tackle it sensibly you can see the wood from the trees.

Has the experience changed you?

My husband says I'm a bit bossy. I'm certainly besotted by education for the sake of the children.

What is the biggest, best or worst change you've seen during your time as a governor?

It's the huge responsibility, which is much greater than in the past. At the end of the day the buck does stop with the chair of governors, especially when the headteacher is not a governor. The governing body take the ultimate responsibility for signing off the budget, and there is much more onus on the board for raising standards.

What does your family think of your commitment?

They're quite proud. They don't know how I do it at times, and nor do I. I still find it nerve-wracking, standing up and addressing a lot of people.

Where does governing fit into your life?

I would say probably the majority of my life is tied up with education. I've been married for 35 years and have just taken up golf because it's the only time I see my husband!

If you could wave a wand, what would you wish for the school?

The best teachers, the best resources, challenging children who invigorate the place.

And who or what would you make disappear?

You'll expect me to say OFSTED. But I'm one of those who think Chris Woodhead was one of the greatest things that happened to education. Education needed him at that time, but it is probably right he should now move on.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Richard Branson - he's a maverick, gets things done and is fun, and I hope would be a fair-minded person!


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