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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Governor of a primary school

Our primary school, like 25% of all primary schools in rural areas, is a Church of England school. This is a matter of historical interest, but the school's links with the church have no relevance to the education of the local children. However, the church enjoys the power that its ownership conveys. The committee of governors must have a majority of church-elected members and they decide who to employ and who to sack and what to spend the money on and which children will be allowed to attend the school and how many of them etc etc etc.

The committee of governors is therefore mainly made up of people chosen by the vicar. The remainder of the committee is made up of: two or three parent governors, two staff governors, the headteacher and a representative from the parish council. So if you are non-church going Joe Bloggs, or even, say, devout Catholic Joe Bloggs, and you have no children at the school or there is no current vacancy for a parent governor, then you will not be able to be a governor of the school.

The school is for all children, not just the children of the local C of E congregation. I am sure the historical reasons for the church's coming to own all the land that these rural schools are built on are dubious and questionable, and in this day and age entirely irrelevant.

At our governors' meetings we begin and end with a prayer; the paper agenda is prefaced with a plea to God; and the conversation is peppered with virtuous and devout comments. Yet there is not one person there, aside from myself, who has children at the local state secondary school. Their children are all at the grammar school or at fee-paying schools, even the vicar's children - would you believe it? Where is their sense of social responsibility? They are like the damned Labour party. I wonder what motivates them - or am I being naive?


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