Have you noticed?

18th September 1998 at 01:00
THE Department for Education and Employment is looking into compulsory training for governors.

Certainly, there is a case for providing basic training before governors take office rather than after, but it is almost impossible to envisage compulsion without payment - at least of expenses.

For full governors' meetings only, would you think, or for committees, interviews, inspections, classroom visits and sports days? Should we be talking about general basic training, or specific areas of responsibility?

Do we get extra scale points as literacy governors, special needs experts or chairs? Chairs of full governing bodies or of sub-committees?

There are several interesting models in terms of training and payment. Lay magistrates are rigorously selected and trained before they sit on the bench. They are reimbursed for their attendance and have the services of a professional clerk.

Sounds fine - but then county councillors, who sit on education committees and claim expenses, require no training at all. Nor do paid Members of Parliament.

Ministers of education, more highly remunerated than headteachers, may well not have set foot in a school since they left Harrow.

Perhaps compulsory training for them might not come amiss, starting with what every good governor knows - the difference between strategic planning and the day-to-day management of schools.

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