On the board

4th July 2003 at 01:00
Governor David Nortcliffe, 66, has been associated with Rastrick high school, an 11-18 comprehensive in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, for 31 years.

He originally chaired the secondary modern which merged with a grammar to form the present school.

What made you want to be a governor?

I was involved in various activities in the town, such as the local arts council, and liked the idea of being involved in the school.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

Yes. Like anyone who goes into it, at first you don't realise what is involved. It is rather different being on the inside.

What dodon't you like?

There is an element of frustration at not being able to deal with things; some are for financial reasons, some are downright bureaucratic. Too much knee-jerk reaction to problems means there always has to be an instant answer. I like the on-going involvement, seeing timid 11-year-olds become confident, watching them win prizes, succeed at athletics or have good results going on into the sixth-form and then to university.

Has it changed you?

I think it has. You have to see both sides of the arguments, whether it's about children, staff or accommodation. You have to look at all sides and realise that people hold opinions genuinely.

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

The best thing was the grant-maintained system. Calderdale had more secondary schools out than in. People are still saying it's the right thing to happen, more accountability at local level, but you have to have the money and power to do it.

Where does governing fit into your life?

It is a lot less than it was. Apart from governors' meetings I am on the finance committee, and do a certain amount of panel work at the school. It is an adjunct to my life.

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

Go back to GM and have enough money to do it.

And who or what would you make disappear?

A mindset of change, change, change. Education needs a period of stability, almost every aspect of schools has been changed and it is just too much.

The sharp end always gets blamed and the problems are often much further back.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Tony Blair. It would do him a world of good to see what actually happens.

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