Long-suffering workers who deserve better;Governors;Briefing

22nd October 1999 at 01:00
Michael Smith, below, urges the Government to invest in training.

IN CALLING for national standards for governor training, Alan Clifton (TES, October 8) touches only obliquely on the most important factor: money.

Conceding that "the Government does give local authorities some money for governor training" he poses the question: "Is the funding adequate?" As a former clerk to a governing body - of which my wife was chair - I would give a resounding "no".

Training provision is patchy, at best. This hit-and-miss provision often means a particular course is available - but at the other end of the country. More funding from central government would enable local authorities to provide better coverage.

Governors are volunteers. But that is no justification for the unforgivable way in which they are presumed upon.

Training may be free at the point of delivery, but travelling and subsistence expenses are another matter. Often these can be claimed only from the tight school budget. To pay out expenses to all from a central fund would remove potential embarrassment.

Compare the governing body with the committee of the parent-teacher association. Parent-teacher associations epitomise what we should be expecting from willing volunteers. No one expects PTA committee members to be paid for what they do.

But governors are responsible for the national curriculum and its delivery, staffing, buildings and other resources, the safety and well-being of children and control of the necessary budget to implement policies.

The national importance of governors' work is reflected in the extensive body of law in which it is enshrined. There can be no excuse for attempting to provide this vital work on the cheap.

If you have anything to say about governors or governing, please write to: Victoria Neumark, Governors' Page, TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E19XY.

E-mail: victoria.neumark@newsint.co.uk

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