Have you noticed

25th February 2000 at 00:00
TUCKED AWAY in the school government regulations (schedule 6, paragraph 4) - no, don't go away, this is important - is a new provision which drives a coach and horses through the cherished principle that all governors are equal and may participate in any discussion, except where they have a vested interest.

Teachers and other governors who work in the school, as two of our elected parents do, must now withdraw from meetings about pay or appraisal. The headteacher must leave while his or her salary is under review.

At my school, we choose not to have staff on our pay policy committee, butall our committees are open for all governors to attend and participate in, but not vote. The annual review of the head's and deputy's salaries, and in future the ratification of the head's recommendations on performance pay, are bound to be contentious and potentially divisive issues.

They will be made more so, not less, by having to proceed in secret. Much better to allow everyone, particularly the staff governors, to see that the process is fair, rigorous and transparent.

I spent hours last year persuading my own headteacher this was so. Now I will have to back down. Damn.

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