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School Governors

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  • School Governors

    I suppose they were not on the "shop floor" as far as mainstream school goes, but they did help make the decisions as to how the school was run. They did get a mention in the parents' handbook before the start of the school year, and was a list of various people from around the community including LEA members, co-opted governors such as councillors, shopkeepers, the family GP, and even the local vicar. Governors were often parents (watch out for familiar surnames that tally with pupils on class registers on the list); and of course members of teaching staff - including HM the Headteacher.

    I always think of school governors as being a bit like members of a jury in a courtroom, deliberating over a case such as the wearing of school uniform or stamping out violence in the school playground, with the Chairman of the Board of Governors a bit like the Forman of the Jury - the one who stands up and says "yes" or "no" as the final decision. They stand for four years I believe (well, they actually sit at meetings but you knw what I mean), before moving on and someone else taking their place.

    I keep thinking of the 1986 series of Grange Hill with Martin Glover (daughter of Julia) as the then Chairman of the Board of Governors - remember that episode where the meeting was in the Music Room? (The one with the grand piano and the music stands in the background; "horseshoe" arrangements of tables covered with greengrocers' "carpet" turf on the desks) and Glover Snr putting his briefcase on top of the table to discuss the likes of graffiti on outside school walls, (that's Art teacher Ginny Booth's influence towards Danny Kendall's mural for you), as well as the main Hot Potato topics such as unmarried mothers (PE teacher Liz Regan defending the fact that she is a mother but separated from daughter Laura Regan's father Tony), and unmarred fathers (Maths teacher Peter King and his "affair" with Fay Lucas) - King's last appearance in the series was also in this episode where we see him clearing out his desk before we get to see McClusky putting make up on (which I thought was banned in schools if you know what I mean), and Bridget makes her appearance in the Music Room. Mr King makes a surprise cameo in the next series in the Craft Fair episode along with his partner Jan who happens to be actor David Straun's real-life partner at the time - cue poor Fay crying because Mr King now has a partner or his own.

    Chairman Glover (played by Vincent Brimble, who is noticeable from other appearances in other TV dramas), makes mincemeat about the King / Lucas debacle and no doubt that not only it raised the issue about the age of consent of 16, but also the fact that teacher / pupil relationships are illegal in Great Britain which no doubt sparked debates outside television territory as well - indeed, 18 is the minimum age where one can get anywhere near legal foray in this way. Don't forget that this was the same year as the "Just Say No" song was made, and Zammo Maguire was into the "hard stuff" i.e. drugs. The 1986 series was indeed a lot more controversial than previous series, not to mention the fact that the series was extended from 18 to 24 episodes a series in 1986 and 1987. We get to see a lot of Glover in both those series as the following year Dame Bridget has a meeting with Glover who has a gripe about Danny Kendall being sent to Scotland for a check-up on the NHS.

    Meanwhile, the school secretary, (which happened to be Jenny, not Janet for the first time since series one back in 1978 - the first time the school secretary was credited at the end of the episode in the series since series four back in 1981), to "bug" McClusky's office telephone so that she could ask Glover to sanction an expulsion on Imelda Davis after she had assaulted Ronne Birtles a multiple number of times in recent episodes. And then towards the end of series 10 there was the mock riot around the school with regards to pupils not ben allowed to see what was said about them in their files and also with regards to the staff handbook. After that we don't see him or Julia again, and I believe that they both left to go to another school in 1988. Was Martin Glover the only Chairman of the Board of Governors that was seen on Grange Hill, I wonder?

    At my own school, they consisted mostly of two or three subject teachers such as the Head of History and at least one other; local businessmen in the Richard Branson-vein and all that. And probably a local councillor thrown in for good measure as well. The Chairman one year was the father of one of the kids in another form but in the same year - who had the same name as him. I don't now how he lived it up to be honest! And I thought that the Headteacher was the only Governor that the school had - well. it did feel like a prison to me while was there to be honest...

    Were your parents ever a school governor or perhaps your own teacher was one or perhaps you were a school governor yourself? - I bet that it seemed to be hard work even if meetings were only around once a month.
    Last edited by George 1978; 17-05-2021, 04:34.
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