On the board
Andrew Parsons, 57, is an educational psychologist based in Oxfordshire, with two daughters, aged 18 and 21. He is a governor at Bardwell special school in Bicester for pupils with severe learning difficulties.
What made you want to be a governor?
I was drafted in a few years ago when the school was judged to have severe weaknesses. I had worked as a psychologist there, but am no longer involved professionally with the school.
Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?
Yes. I tackled the job with enthusiasm but I knew what I was letting myself in for!
What dodon't you like?
I like the fact that by getting involved, you can begin to help the school change direction. It is good to help the headteacher and staff and be able to praise and recognise all the hard work which goes on. I don't like not having enough time to do everything, for example I won't be chair because of this. I am literacy governor, numeracy governor, and SEN governor. I sit on all four sub-committees, which is a feature of special schools which have small governing bodies.
What is the biggest, best or worst change you've seen during your time as a governor?
There is a lot of expectation about how much governors will be involved. It all takes a lot of time, including travel time.
What does your family think of your commitment?
My daughters get fed up. They say all my wife and I talk about is education. My wife is reconciled to it. I'm not a workaholic but I sit as a trustee on the board of an independent special school, I also teach for the Open University, so I have to be fairly well-organised.
If you could wave a wand, what would you wish for the school?
Secure numbers. With the inclusion agenda there is a move towards mainstream schools. We have a huge new school but it looks as if we are going to be vulnerable. As a psychologist I'd like to see a fully integrated system where there would be tremendous flexibility to integrate children with local schools, but it is an expensive option. You can't do inclusion on the cheap.
Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?
Pierce Brosnan, somebody the children could relate to. Actually we're trying to get Victoria and David (Beckham) to open the new school.