Is your governing body as dysfunctional as this?

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Reluctant chair Alex Baker introduces his board from hell

GOOD evening and welcome to this full governors' meeting of Eddington primary school. Welcome also to the Year 4 classroom. I'm sorry about the size of the table and chairs but the Ninja flower- arranging evening class are using our normal meeting room.

Before we get on to the business at hand I would like to welcome a new member to our governing body: Mr Charles Goodbody. I would firstly like to introduce Mr Goodbody to the other members around the table, so here goes.

Immediately to your right is Mrs Pearson, who is very good at stopping the discussion by referring to some obscure regulation usually concerning the school's statutory requirement to count the number of pieces of paper it owns before the end of the fiscal year.

Mr Trennon, next to her, has the duty of shouting the loudest in the hope that we finish this meeting by 9pm when he has told his friends he will meet them at the pub.

Dr Carter there is an academic who thinks she knows all there is about education because she once taught it to a bunch of Open University students.

Mrs Rogers, our headteacher, is fed up with a bunch of amateurs telling her how she should run her school but will still blame "the governors" whenever she presents a difficult decision to anyone else. Opposite you is Mr Walker, who will boast about his experience in finance and argue fiercely that the chair should take greater control of the meeting to ensure a quick ending.

Next to him is Miss Penny, our Year 4 teacher, who thought joining the governing body would give her the opportunity to contribute to the running of the school but, in fact, she is constantly forced to agree with everything the headteacher says in order to give the impression of staff solidarity. Up next is Miss Jones, our secretary from the education authority, who secretly complains about having to come and take our minutes outside office hours.

There are, of course, seven other members of this governing body who cannot be present because they all have childcare difficulties and always argue that these meetings should take place during school time when they can have their children looked after.

Finally, I am Mr Masterson, the chair, who was elected to the post because no one else would do it and therefore everyone complains about me.

My main duty is to invite opinions from the governors which I will generally ignore because I know that the head will consider them all impractical until I can convince her that she has come up with the idea herself.

Right, if we can now start with item one from the 234 on the agenda. Yes, Mr Trennon...

The author works in higher education and writes under a pseudonym. All characters depicted here are fictional

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