Governors must offer more support

5th April 1996 at 01:00
I must reply to the article "Lord, don't ask me any questions" (TES, March 22), First, where were school governors during this inspection? As chairman of governors of two primary schools which were inspected in 1995 I feel that I am qualified to make some comment. One of the most important functions of governors is to support the school and the staff.

A governor was present at all the times that the inspectors were in the school which was very fortunate because one of our teachers broke down after having to contend with a class of 30-plus Year 3 children and an inspector all day. The staff were angry and I asked for a meeting with the registered inspector so that he could explain the actions of the inspector. After some considerable discussion the "reggie" agreed that the inspector had not made a good job of his inspection.

At the final meeting with the staff and governors the inspector apologised to the teacher and to the governors which resulted in all parties feeling that progress had been made.

Perhaps I am fortunate in that I have been a governor at primary, secondary and tertiary levels for more than 16 years and for at least 10 years a chairman. I am therefore conversant with most aspects of school life and, although Joan Sallis may not be entirely happy with my approach, I feel strongly that if the governors don't make a stand and support the staff, what are they there for?

Almost every week The TES has some moan from governors about how ineffectual they feel. All I can say is buy the governors' handbook and make an effort. The headteacher will run the school on the day-to-day matters but when the going gets rough, go into active mode and offer support.

Incidentally the inspectors report on the school was good, it has attained a "satisfactory" level in every subject. The report also commented on the effectiveness of the governing body and the caring attitude of the whole school and the governors.

GERRY DAVIES Hanbury Road Pontypool, Gwent

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