On the board

1st May 2003 at 01:00

Belinda Price is a governor at Woodbrook school in Beckenham, Kent, for children with severe learning difficulties aged four to 19. She retired as principal manager of a children's daycare centre in Lambeth in 1995. Until two years ago she was a schools inspector.

Why be a governor?

I've been a governor at various times of my life in different places. It came from a deep interest in education, and I was committed to the idea that governors could make a difference - not so true in the 1970s, but more so now.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

Yes. When I moved to Beckenham I was asked to take on my present special school which had difficulties at the time. We managed to turn it around in two years. I love it.

What dodon't you like?

I have the usual gripes about paperwork and the changes of policy we get, but I love going into school and talking to teachers and being involved in everything. We have a wonderful inclusion programme which involves our pupils going out to local schools. Pupils from these schools come to our performances and it's a wonderful example of how both children with severe learning difficulties and the children in the other schools benefit.

Unfortunately this is now being reconsidered because of budget cuts.

Has the job changed you?

Certainly working with a school for children with severe learning difficulties has enriched my life. I can't describe the atmosphere at the nativity at the local church every Christmas. Children who can't communicate are up on stage contributing and it's very moving.

What is the biggest, best or worst change you've seen?

Enabling parents to have an input into schools makes such a difference. I also think the literacy and numeracy strategies were a major step forward.

The worst change is probably the enormous burden placed on the chair of governors.

Where does governing fit into your life?

I'm on all the committees and chair the head's performance management committee. I go into school regularly and I've enjoyed talking recently about citizenship. The teachers are pleased to see governors taking an interest.

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

A lovely new school.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Some of the paperwork Ideal fantasy governor?

Nicky Campbell, of Watchdog.

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