Have you noticed?

24th March 2000 at 00:00
AS WE all know, the flashier the envelope, the less important the contents. After all, the dreaded letter from the Office for Standards in Education does not carry a warning: "Caution! Contents may Detonate on Opening."

On the other hand, the envelope in my in-tray marked, in large red letters, "Urgent - Important Documentation Enclosed" turned out to be an invitation to collect tea-bag tokens.

This offer is for sports equipment. If we are dunking the right biscuits in our tea at governors' meetings, we can simultaneously collect vouchers for numeracy resources. Schools are not only told what to teach but where to shop and what to buy. P> Governors too are becoming more and more regulated. To avoid being struck off our governing bodies for non-attendance we not only have to tender our apologies for absence, but our reasons have to be approved by our fellow governors.

Illness is acceptable of course, but how about pantomime rehearsals, taking the rabbit to the vet or baby-sitting failure? Work commitment is often given as a reason, which raises the perennial question of time off.

And should governors, like pupils, be discouraged from holidaying in termtime? "I shall be in Thailand for a month," seems to me entirely inappropriate, but that's simply jealousy.

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