On the board

9th February 2001 at 00:00
Masood Ahmed, 43, is an education authority governor and vice-chair of Iqra primary school, Bradford, where the majority of pupils come from a Pakistani background. A governor for eight years, he works at a homeless persons unit. He talked to Janet Prescott.

What made you want to be a governor?

I became a governor when my son joined a local school, to make sure he got a decent education.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

It has deeply disappointed me. I never realised the gap there was between where people lived and the type of education they could get. The quality of education in many inner-cities has been bad for many years but attempts to rectify the situation have fallen on deaf ears. There has been recent movement due to external pressure and things are moving in the right direction.

What dodon't you like?

I dislike the willingness of some people to write pupils off willy nilly. I like OFSTED and league tables, which give parents a degree of information we did not have before. But inner-city parents may not necessarily be able to act on that information, their choices are limited.

Has the experience changed you?

It's made me more determind than ever that inner-city residents should contribute more as parents and citizens.

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

The best has been local management and devolved powers to the governing body. It makes schools more accountable to the people they serve. The worst is that parents still do not have the ability to ensure the education they desire and some schools are still complacent.

What does your family think of your commitment?

My wife suggested I become a parent governor in the first place. Over the years, I must admit that all the meetings are somewhat taxing on family life.

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

Adequate resources and people who want to teach in the inner city. There is a high concentration of people in such areas who are not necessarily literate. There is tremendous power in the acquisition of basic skills and a degree of knowledge.

And who or what would you make disappear?

I would say the bureaucracy, at all levels. The white-collar brigade.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

A governor who is here for the pupils and no one else.


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