Why are governors doing dirty work?

15th November 1996 at 00:00
As a governor of an inner-city school in London, I cannot but feel heartily sick with what I have read today (TES, November 1). On the front page, we have the "Finger pointed at failing governors", which extracts some juicy material from an Office for Standards in Education report, about their poor performance and their inability to assess heads' performance for salary purposes. Then, on page 6, we have a boxed quote "Basically, any fool can be a school governor and many are", extracted from Huw Thomas's article. At the time of writing, the parent-governors of Manton School (reported on page 9) have resigned over the issue of Matthew Wilson's education.

As you rightly point out in your editorial, some governors may not be up to the job they are not being paid for. So, where does this leave me and my fellow-governors? Local management of schools would have been dead in the water, without the time, commitment, enthusiasm, willingness to learn, of large numbers of people willing to work hard for nothing. If they are like me, many governors must be wondering when it will be their turn to be fired on from all sides. In the past few years, I've frequently had to ask myself why I am doing this Government's dirty work for them? If I were to resign on a matter of principle, it would be counter-productive gesture politics, since I care very much about my school; if the entire governing body resigned, it would create serious problems for the school, which none of us would like to see.

The OFSTED report on our failures is a prime example of the arrogance of this Government's office. It was its extremely ill-advised policy to leave heads' and deputies' salaries to the discretion of governors, not ours: worse, it has been its policy to cut education to the bone, and then tell LEAs to order us to do amputations.

Perhaps it will take nationwide governor action, with mass resignations, before the Government begins to admit its policy of LMS has failed so miserably.

Should not the Government embark upon a whole-scale review of the role of governors, in the light of OFSTED's criticisms?


74 Ruskin Walk

Herne Hill

London SE24

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