On the board

18th February 2000 at 00:00
LYNN WERRELL, 48, is chair of governors at Stephen Freeman school

in Didcot, Oxfordshire. She started as a parent governor at Lydalls nursery 10 years ago, before moving to the primary as her two youngest (of four) boys progressed. She cares for her second oldest son, John, 22, who is disabled, and represents governors at education authority level.

What made you want to be a governor?

There were elections for parent governors when Mark, my third son, started nursery. When he started at primary school, several parents who knew what I had done at the nursery asked me to stand. So I thought I would give it a go.

Has the experience fulfilled your


Yes, and more so. But I didn't realise how much you do. I feel the role of governors is to give a holistic view of children, and build in expectations for the future.

What dodon't you like?

I like being able to put forward pupils', parents', and teachers' ideas and ideals. What really annoys me is glossy documents, invariably from the Department for Education and Employment. Plain paper is just as easy to read, and the money saved could be spent on education.

Has the experience changed you?

Tremendously. I have developed communication skills I didn't realise I had. Also, before, I was the parent who thought teachers hd an easy life, with six weeks' summer holiday. But being a governor made me appreciate the tremendous amount of work they and heads do.

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

The biggest has been the better inclusion of children with special needs - even it it is woefully underfunded. The best has been local management of schools. It was great to be able to manage your own budget, but it's been cut so you're struggling to get enough for the children. The worst is the 100 per cent increase in work for governors, who are volunteers.

What do your family think of your


They must feel neglected sometimes, as teachers' children do, because I attend as many meetings and training sessions as I can. But they're proud of me.

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

Funding that realistically reflects the needs of the children and provides a better pay structure for teachers.

And who or what would you make disappear?

Unnecessary and expensive paperwork, impossible deadlines and questionnaires which give only two weeks' notice for forms to fill in for extra funds.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Someone who can read DFEE information and instantly translate it into plain English.

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