The final line of defence

24th January 1997 at 00:00
Joan Sallis (TES, January 10) answered a question from a governor who had been "corrected" by a head for becoming involved in operational matters by criticising classroom practice and the running of the general office.

While her answer was legally correct in agreeing with the head's view on the role of governors, it was nevertheless quite worrying from a parent's point of view. Here was a case where the more able children were being left to drift and no one seemed to care, not even when the issue was highlighted by a school governor.

No doubt this situation is common in schools all over the country. Officials from the Office for Standards in Education arrive once in a blue moon and see the school on its best behaviour. Who ensures that all children have their needs met between OFSTED visits?

Many parents reading Joan Sallis's reply will have felt that she did not care, either. The neglect of the more able children was sidelined in favour of reciting the rules. No doubt that governor will feel that he has an administrative answer to what was essentially a managerial question. Certainly, he was acting out of role, but he had highlighted an important issue.

Perhaps we should feel less concerned for the teachers and the general office, and more concerned for the children. When a governor shows this kind of interest in a fundamental educational issue, it really is a shame when the point is lost because of a technicality. Most parents will be horrified.

Parents must surely realise now that they are the only ones who will defend their children's interests when the school fails them. Fortunately, unlike governors, they do not need to be concerned about protocol.

JOHN CARSON (parent)

37 Woodborough Lane Whitehouse Farm, Durham

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