Letter

6th November 1998 at 00:00
I read Steve Devrell's article last week on governor types with some amusement and the odd glimmer of recognition. I am a parent and I suppose Mr Devrell would regard me as successful, which may qualify me as "Pushy" or "Megalo".

I have never noticed people queuing up to be school governors and I rather drifted into it, but I soon discovered it to be one of the most fascinating and challenging jobs I have ever done.

Governing is no job for the reluctant time-server. It demands work, commitment and a willingness to learn and keep learning. Mr Devrell calls for lay influence to be kept to a minimum, but why? Schools are full of "people who have a proven ability in education"; the real value of governors comes from the outside perspective. When I started governing I knew nothing about education, but I have learnt much from the school and, perhaps, the school has learnt something from me.

I have the enormous good fortune to be governor of a very good school where I enjoy one of the my most satisfying professional working relationships - but it is not like that everywhere.

I would suggest to Mr Devrell that Tony Blair defined his priorities as education, education and education because of a political perception of widespread public dissatisfaction with the quality of education we provide for our children. It may be unfair, but that is the political reality.

Education needs more, not less, lay influence, but of a much higher quality. Tell prospective governors exactly what is expected of them, insist that they are properly trained. If it puts off some people, so much the better. They shouldn't be misled into thinking it easy.

Stuart Lester

Chair of governors

Childs Hill School JMI

London NW2

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