MP's 'affront' to unpaid recruits

20th September 1996 at 01:00
Joe Ashton MP has made a number of comments this week on the powers, abilities and appointment of school governors. I should like to clarify some points.

The make-up of every governing body is determined by a statutory formula, dependent upon the school size, to include appointed, elected and co-opted members. All parents of children at any school have the right to stand for election to the governing body as parent governors andor vote in that election.

School governors have never sought greater powers for themselves; their role has been dictated by local and central government. Certainly their job has changed enormously since the introduction of the local management of schools and far greater power has devolved upon them, some of it not entirely welcome. Governors have accepted the extra work and steered their schools through some difficult times. Training is strongly recommended and widely available, but voluntary.

School governors, unlike teachers, education officials and politicians, are unpaid volunteers who give generously of both their time and expertise in the interests, not of career or politics, but of education itself. It is Mr Ashton's prerogative to hold personal views of the role the governors have played in the Manton school dispute, but to generalise those views to include governors across the country is unacceptable and an affront to those of us who work tirelessly to improve education nationwide.

G LANE Chair, Nottinghamshire Association of Governors of Schools 9 Hillcrest Gardens Burton Joyce Nottingham

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