Friday, September 15, 2006

Its a fair cop, Guv'nor

I stood as a Primary School Governor nearly four years ago.

Being a Governor is not quite what anyone expects once the novelty has worn off. We get to make decisions, certainly, but they are ridiculously constrained within the boundaries of Government Policy, conflicting initiatives and rampant political correctness. (Schools don't have Chairmen or Headmasters/Headmistresses any more, they have Chairs and Heads. Sooner or later they will also have a "senior personagement team" as well, consisting of various bits of the body and furniture).

I have put up with it with increased levels of bitter reality & disillusionment tablets but when I'm told we need embrace diversity through inclusivity, respect and vision for the umpteenth time I just want to play buzzword bingo or crawl off and throw up somewhere. I was expecting my term of office to finish gracefully in November but a couple of things derailed that.

Firstly, we adopted a new statement of Governance last year and as part of that, most people had to get re-appointed through the usual channels. Surprisingly enough, it didn't apply to me because I pre-dated the legislation so I automatically carried on my term of office on the new body, or so I thought.

As I work full time, I have never been able to devote too much time to Governorship, the important committees generally meeting during the school day. Also, rather a lot of Governor meetings have tended to clash with my Town Council meetings, particularly due to me being on the planning committeee that meets much more frequently than the others.

Anyway, I wasn't in a position to take part in our Deputy Head appointment last year and didn't expect to take part in the interviews for our new Head. (Our Mr. Summers is moving on to Churwell Primary, a school 50% bigger than David's school with three forms per year.)

However, at the last Governor's meeting in July, it became apparent that one of the Community Governors was at the end of her term of office and as she was a political appointee it was by no means certain that she would be re-appointed, especially as the balance of power in Morley South changed last City Council election day. On this basis, the Chair turned to me and asked me to be on the selection panel as I was the only other Governor that could possibly participate. I agreed, slightly reluctantly as it would require me to use two days of holiday, but nethertheless went along to the first panel meeting just before school broke up.

I then found that the business of continuing my governorship the previous year had a caveat- it was to the end of the term of office, or September 1st 2006, whichever came first. No-one from the Governor unit had actually told anyone this at the time and they had indeed confirmed my office as ending in November at the last meeting.

On this basis, I wouldn't be a Governor on September 1st and would be ineligible to go on the panel, unless I restood unopposed. (If there was another candidate, there would need to be a Parent election which couldn't be completed in time.).

This put me in a bit of a quandry, as I had intended to not restand and persuade Karen to stand instead. Anyway, I agreed to restand and the deadline for nominations was today.

The school rang me up earlier to confirm that I was the only candidate and that I would be taking part in the appointment panel after all, so on Monday and Tuesday, I will be taking part in selecting a new Head Teacher from the five short-listed hopefuls.

As an aside, I was stunned to be told by David earlier in the week that he was not allowed to use any form of shampoo, soap or bodywash in the shower after swimming via school due to "Health & Safety".

Is it healthy or safe to have 30 rinsed but unwashed children in Morley Leisure Centre, I wonder?

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