5th May 2000 at 01:00
Governors taking time off from their duties may turn to the internet for advice. But prepare for delays.

Click on "governor", for example, and you might find everything but FE governance information. You do get to know about the 50 US state governors or, as a treat, you can catch up on the family news of Jennifer Bush (George W's spouse).

But if you can tear yourself away, click on "governing body" or "governance" and see what you get - it will throw up a range of sites (all starting http:www. unless otherwise stated).

The DFEE website ( offers up-to-date information on consultation papers and the Learning and Skills Bill. Details of senior appointments to national and local learning and skills councils can be found at lscappointments.shtml.

The Further Education Funding Council website ( is a mine of information. It contains the latest inspections reports, circulars and press releases. A click on "publications" will produce a list of useful or governor-related literature.

Meanwhile, why not try the Further Education Development Agency's site ( if you want to know more about its research ctivities, or its leadership and governance programme.

Or try the Association of College's new website ( to find out what the organisation representing governing bodies is up to.

Nearer home, discover what your government office is planning in setting up the local Learning and Skills Councils (click for the South West or for east of England and try other permutations for others) or learn about your regional development agency's skill strategy ( for the south West).

Nearer home still, try your own college website. What does is say about governance? Does it include minutes of your meetings and the names of governors?

But remember, many websites have a word search facility to help you find what you are looking for. If you cannot find your regional development agency or other organisations, find and do a word search. And be patient. Always type in "uk" after a word to prevent long lists of US websites. And be clear what you are looking for.

John Graystone is regional director for the Association of Colleges, South West

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