ISMAIL Essack is chair of
governors at Wimbledon Park primary school, south London, where his two children, aged five and 10, are pupils. A chartered accountant, he arrived in the UK from South Africa 10 years ago and is director of a group of financial services companies.
What made you want to be a governor?
Interest in trying to do some work for education.
Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?
It has been very demanding, but I guess the answer is yes.
What dodon't you like?
The amount of information and the need to deal with so much correspondence from different sources. I like to feel a part of a governing body which gives useful input and support to the senior management team.
Has the experience changed you?
Hopefully not. It's allowed me to understand how individual schools like ours can achieve high standards within the constraints of LEA budgetary control.
What is the biggest, best or worst change you've seen during your time as a governor?
The biggest change has been dealing with the curriculum, which has become far more organised and more structured with rgard to literacy and numeracy. That is a change for the better.
What does your family think of your commitment?
At times it is very demanding, especially as chair, but there is an element of satisfaction for
everyone in the hard work. My children's main enjoyment is the daily correspondence for me which is handed to them in school.
Where does governing fit into your life?
It's helped me in a normal work environment to be a lot more structured; I use a similar approach. Also I use skills from work to chair governors who are from all backgrounds.
If you could wave a wand, what would you wish for the school?
I would like it to become a beacon school within Merton LEA, and to be one of the best performing schools in the country.
And who or what would you make disappear?
Myself, so that there would be no need for a governing body and the school could work consistently without bureaucracy.
Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?
Fran Hollis (see On the Board, December 1). She is a fellow governor in the area and is known both locally and nationally.