On the board

25th April 2003 at 01:00
ARTHUR Spalding, 51, is chairman of governors at Caistor Yarborough school, an 11 to 16 comprehensive in Caistor, Lincolnshire. He is self-employed, and has been a governor for 16 years.

What made you want to be a governor?

I was born in Caistor and attended the school myself and wanted to retain an association with it. I also sat on the governing body of our village primary school for 12 years but the Government wanted more and more of the free time we all have and so I opted for the secondary school.

What dodon't you like?

I don't like the lack of funding. I am proud to say that Caistor Yarborough is a very successful school. Although it is set in rural Lincolnshire, it is attractive to both pupils and staff, but we sit right next to a grammar school. We are both oversubscribed, but they select and we don't.

Has the experience changed you?

When I first went in, I didn't realise the amount of involvement which would develop. It has changed my thinking about education and I understand the importance of the governing body. I am not sure if the Government realises the responsibility put on governors.

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

Our biggest change has been from three to four-form entry, from a 300 to a 550-pupil base, and I was very pleased to be chairman at that time. Local management of schools was a massive change, and recently there has been performance management and threshold.

What does your family think of your commitment?

My wife and 14-year-old daughter are very supportive. They are quite happy for me to be involved and think it's important to give something back to the community.

Where does governing fit into your life?

It takes over a lot of my spare time. I am a very organised person and do set times aside to fulfil my role. I usually have weekly contact with the school and attend concerts, plays and awards evenings.

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

A budget that could support the school. There is an awful lot of funding out there, but we don't attract much of it. Successful schools are left behind on budget - we're too big for small-school support, too small for big-school funding, and we're not in an education action zone like nearby Grimsby, although about 25 per cent of our pupils come from there. I feel funding is unfairly directed.

And who or what would you make disappear?

League tables.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Richard Branson, for his ambition and achievement.

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