On the board;Governors;Briefing;Interview;Derek Burke, Mayor of Southampton

5th November 1999 at 00:00
Mayor of Southampton Derek Burke, 51, a dock worker and father of two, has been a parent and local authority governor at Millbrook community school in the city for 12 years.

What made you want to be a governor?

My daughters attended the school, and I wanted to put something back in.

Has the experience fulfilled your expectations?

It's been much more challenging than I thought it would be.

What don't you like?

When the budget doesn't allow you to do what you want to do for the kids. Most of it goes on salaries, as it should, but the lack of funding from central government limits the possibilities of what you can do.

Has the experience changed you?

It's made me much more aware of the needs of education and the pressures on teachers and pupils. The expectation to succeed is greater than ever. The children are compared, school to school, and peer groups talk to each other - "we got better results than you did".

What do your family think of your commitment?

The girls didn't want me involved in the school - they thought it was too much pressure on them. But they see it's been an important role to play for the parents.

If you could wave a wand, what would you wish for the school? Time for teachers to stand back and look at what they are doing. There's so much pressure to perform, perform, perform.

Who would be your ideal fantasy governor?

Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft). He seems to have an ability to conjure up money and make things happen.

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