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Urned autonomy

Joan Dalton finds fulfilment on tea duty

The chair of our parent-teacher association is standing down this term after nine years.

She has organised Christmas and summer fairs, aromatherapy evenings, beetle drives, discos and carol-singing tours of the village. She has sold truckloads of Christmas cards and thousands of raffle tickets, spent hours cutting coupons off crisp packets and run the school shop selling new and second-hand uniforms.

Her reward for all this hard work is enormous gratitude from the staff, parents and children and real, tangible improvements to the school's resources.

In a grossly underfunded education authority like ours, the PTA's contributions of books, computers, outdoor play equipment and much more is really invaluable.

And what have I achieved as chair of governors in the same time? Well, I have appointed two excellent heads, acted as their confidante and adviser, soothed irate parents, served on teacher appointment panels, analysed budgets, helped draft policies and encouraged fellow governors to develop their skills and take responsibilities.

I read the innumerable documents I receive, keep up-to-date with educational developments, attend briefings and training courses.

I am a good governor.

So why do I feel most useful behind the tea urn at the PTA Christmas fair?

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