We've seen it all before;Briefing;Governors;Diary

26th November 1999 at 00:00
THE annual general meeting of the National Governors' Council was pervaded by a dispiriting sense of deja vu.

Funding is a perennial topic of course. Other recurrent themes are governors' excessive workload, lack of paid time off work to perform our duties, inadequate training and our unwillingness to claim expenses from schools' budgets.

All of these issues were aired at the NGC's spring conference, when it seemed as if someone might actually be listening - in the person of Malcolm Wicks, chair of Commons inquiry into the role of governors. But unsurprisingly the problems have not gone away.

The other depressingly familiar aspect of this year's AGM was the Mysterious Disappearing Minister. Last Year Estelle Morris cried off at the last minute, this year we went one better and David Blunkett failed to show up. Next year let's try Tony Blair.

As before, we were provided with a perfectly adequate, well-briefed Department for Education and Employment civil servant as replacement speaker. Charming fellows both, but we would appreciate an occasional glimpse of an organ-grinder.

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