Workload: why were governors frozen out?

31st January 2003 at 00:00
Action to lessen the unmanageable workload of teachers should be welcomed.

However, school governors need to be aware of the serious implications for school budgets, which will follow last week's workload agreement; and that there has been no ongoing contact or consultation on this issue with the two major governor organisations.

Governing bodies have immense responsibilities placed upon them. The responsibility for deciding staffing complement and the budgetary implications of the agreement lie within the responsibilities of governing bodies, so this lack of consultation is very worrying. What signals are being sent out to the 370,000 governors across the country?

The non-contact time agreed by the Department for Education and Skills and the unions will increase salary bills by roughly 10 per cent. There has been no mention, however, of that 10 per cent being passported into the school budget to cover the extra cost.

It would be hoped that the role of school governors was recognised by the new minister with responsibilities for governance, David Miliband.

Regrettably this does not seem to be the case. We need to meet with the minister to discuss our concerns, but our approaches thus far have met with no success, which is both worrying and disappointing. So Mr Miliband, we ask you here, please include governors, the unsung volunteers, in the list of people you contact and consult; after all, we are important players in this game. The signal being sent out at the moment implies: "Governors are unpaid volunteers and we have no price tag, therefore we have no value."

Neil Davies Chair, National Governors' Council Jane Phillips Chair, National Association of Governors and Managers

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