On the board

8th June 2001 at 01:00
John Holmes, 58, has been a governor for 24 years. The grandfather and father-of-two joined Penketh high school, Warrington, 16 years ago as a parent governor. He has been chair for eight years. An industrial chemist until taking early retirement, he is now a self-employed electro-plater and also an OFSTED lay inspector.

What made you want to be a governor?

The role of governor seemed a natural progression from serving on the parent-teacher association at junior school. When my daughters moved to the high school I also moved at the next election of parent governors.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

It is satisfying as well as being frustrating at times. The fact that you (hopefully) make a difference and contribute to the improvements in the school is rewarding.

What dodon't you like?

I enjoy being part of a team and using skills gained in my employment. I am not happy about the time I have available to carry out the duties of chair. I also do not like governors who have an axe to grind - personal or political.

Has the experience changed you?

You learn from the school and pupils. You realise that the majority of pupils are not bad children.I was thought to be a rebel when I was younger. I don't thinkI turned out too badly

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

The biggest and best change was local management of schools. There were real duties and responsibilities, but it allowed schools to determine their own direction to a certain extent.

What does your family think of your commitment?

After 24 years they are used to it. But it does still sometimes cause some friction when familyschool commitments clash.

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

To have all pupils come to school with the right attitude, wanting to learn, achieving both academically and socially. I would like all parents to be more involved in their children's education.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Politicians and trendy education academics. There has been too much criticism from political figures about schools, for example, "bog standard comprehensives"! Education needs to be removed from the political arena.

Who is your ideal governor?

Ideally, a politician. They would go into a school without the red carpet treatment and see what is really happening. Being realistic, I would like someone inspirational and a good role model for the pupils with high media impact, like Richard Branson.

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