Heads step over the mark too

7th March 1997 at 00:00
David Hart continues his wearisome campaign against governors (TES, February 21), assisted by a past president's letter, but ignoring so much evidence. In the very same issue of The TES, Joan Sallis tells us of two headteachers seeking to act outside their powers, in one case illegally. Yes, there are governing bodies that overstep the mark - but there are heads who do so too. My suspicion is that the greater problem is governing bodies that do not get near to the mark.

It seems that in David Hart's world heads are always sinned against and never sinning. Yet Joan Sallis gives us evidence week after week of ineffective governing bodies, with heads who, deliberately or otherwise, act beyond their powers and ignore the governors.

Professionals often feel uncomfortable about being accountable to lay people (though many governors are not very lay), but that is a proper part of our democratic tradition. We need an informed debate about the roles of heads and governors, which recognises the problems that exist but which does not simply fall for the National Association of Head Teachers' one-sided stance.

My experience of governorship convinces me that heads and governors can work well together in an effective partnership, carrying out the roles given to them. We should be seeking to help all governors and heads to achieve this, not changing the roles to suit one sectional view.

MICHAEL W SANDERSON 3 Strafford Avenue Elsecar Barnsley

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