Have you noticed?;Briefing;Governors

18th June 1999 at 01:00
Delegates to the National Governors' Council's recent meeting were not a representative cross-section. Mostly chairs, we are all heavily involved with local associations, and probably better informed than our colleagues. We are mostly white, male, middle-aged and middle-class.

Nevertheless, shows of hands on various issues through the day probably do represent the views of governors across the country.

More than half of us there said we had had to make budget cuts this year to stay in the black. Questioned by Malcolm Wicks MP, chair of the education select committee inquiry into the role of governors, most of us agreed that our workload had increased over the last few years and was now intolerable. One delegate reported receiving paperwork last term equivalent in weight to David Blunkett's dog.

Very few of us wanted to be paid, but an overwhelming majority wanted paid time off to devote to governors' business. None the less, a forest of hands went up in response to the final question: did we enjoy being governors?

Perhaps that description should add another "M" - Male, Middle-Aged, Middle-Class and Masochistic. Why else volunteer to spend a summer Saturday in conference in the middle of Birmingham?

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