Union's insult to governors

18th August 2006 at 01:00
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT ("Jail those who rob staff of free time", TES, August 4), suggests sending governors to jail for not doing their job properly by implementing the workforce agreement. That will teach them!

Admittedly they are volunteers who give up hours of their time to serve the community for no reward. In some schools they don't have the money to implement the deal. But we should not let minor considerations like those stop the full force of the law coming down on them. I must remember to point out the possibility of a prison sentence to anyone I am trying to recruit as a governor.

Ms Keates's idea is absolutely criminal. She wants to send a message to governors "that the law is the law and people must abide by it". My message to her is that she insults governors by suggesting we are not aware of that, or that we need her to remind us of it.

Of course we should ensure that governors fulfil their responsibilities.

But calls to send them to jail are ridiculous, and do nothing to encourage active citizens to take on this important and onerous role.

Would the NASUWT not be better off supporting schools by working with them to ensure proper resources to implement the agreement, rather than trying to criminalise those who are wrestling with the problem?

Michael Sanderson

Chair of governors

Kirk Balk school

Hoyland, Barnsley

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