Space and time needed

22nd November 1996 at 00:00
For a newly appointed parent governor of a junior school, a housewife with two children who has always been interested in educational issues, it can be a daunting experience attending governors' meetings. However, I believe that unqualified people, such as myself, bring a fresh perspective and one which reflects parents concerns and points of view.

I agree with Huw Thomas's call (TES November 1) for better selection, training and monitoring for those wishing to sit on governing bodies, in view of the responsibilities this role involves. However, I would be cautious at criticising some governors' "pet causes" in a blanket way. People may sometimes "grind on" about their "pet cause" because they happen to think it important. It is up to the chairman to give everyone the time and, if needed, guidance they require, and in this way the process is democratic.

Governors need space and guidance to develop and should not be written off as "incapable and uncommitted" too soon. Better selection, training, monitoring and appraisal will all help in this, as long as these are not used as means to reject, remove, gag or judge those whose "pet causes" are seen as an interference by experienced professionals.

Sharon Londesborough is a governor in Bridlington, East Yorkshire

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