On the board

11th April 2003 at 01:00
Ulric Murray is a retired civil servant and social care consultant. He is a governor at Larks Hill junior and infants and chair at The King's high, both in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He is co-opted and has been a governor for more than 20 years.

What made you want to be a governor?

I was particularly interested in the education of black and Afro-Caribbean people in London. Also my own children were going through school at the time.

What dodon't you like?

I like being involved in strategic matters, to be able to look at the development of policy and to influence things. I have some very good colleagues as governors who offer valuable expertise and skills.

I don't like the frustration of having insufficient money to be able to do the things which are developed and talked about. The timescales are never as short as we would like them to be.

Has the experience changed you?

I used to be much more impatient when I first became a governor. I now see that you have to be patient and let matters work through. So I suppose it has taught me patience!

What is the biggest, best or worst change you have seen as a governor?

The major change has been the responsibilities. At first we were not involved in the strategic or critical bit. We listened to the headteacher sharing information, and really we had very little contribution to make.

That has all changed.

What does your family think of your commitment?

Well, my wife is also chair of governors in another school! We are both committed to the community and see it as our civic duty.

Where does governing fit into your life?

At the moment it takes a major part. Since retiring I have given greater commitment to the schools. I am able to meet people, and go into school about twice a week.

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

The finances to tackle the school environment.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Teachers' workload. I'd like to be able to manage that for them so that they can get on with the things they want to do in education.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Viv Richards when he was managing the West Indian cricket team. And, of course, there's Gary Sobers...!

Janet Prescott

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