On the board

11th February 2000 at 00:00
JACQUI BAILEY, 45, taught English for 10 years in a large comprehensive in Rotherham. She is now a co-ordinator for a pre-school group in Sheffield, and has been a parent and foundation governor at the city's Ecclesall Church of England junior school for eight years. She is the school's special needs governor.

What made you want to be a governor?

I had enjoyed helping in class and supporting the parent-teacher association at my older daughter Kate's infant school. When she moved to the juniors, a parent vacancy arose and I wanted to be more involved. I felt my background in education would be helpful.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

It's been enjoyable. I knew it would be difficult at times. But I still get pleasure from going into school and being with the staff and children.

What don't you like?

The burden of responsibilities, because of the paperwork and meetings generated. The Government chooses to forget governors are unpaid volunteers. It needs to look at what's reasonable.

Has the experience changed you?

Not fundamentally. I still have the same ideals. But I now realise they are not as eas to achieve as you think.

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

Potentially, if properly funded, one of the most positive changes has been the move to greater inclusion of special needs children in mainstream schools.

What do your family think of your commitment?

They have been very supportive. I couldn't have done it without my husband Brian's support. The children have got used to a filing cabinet in the front-room and enjoy more take-away meals than they would otherwise.

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

New, permanent classrooms to replace the dilapidated temporary ones we have now.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Intolerance and apathy. They undermine teamwork. I'm lucky to work on a governing body which pulls together for the good of the school. But people criticise schools and teachers without thinking how they could help.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Victoria Wood, for light relief at meetings. Her plain-speaking would be a welcome alternative to jargon and rhetoric.

Karen Thornton


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