AFTER a quarter of a century as a governor at Gosford Hill School, Doreen Rose is stepping down having learned and changed a great deal.
The chairwoman of the board of governors for eight years is moving on from the Oxford Road school this summer.
A pupil from 1963 to 1968, she first thought about joining the board after taking pupils on work experience at a garage she ran with husband Ian.
As well as meeting youngsters at their R R Auto Repairs, Bankside daughters Emma and Rebecca, now 36 and 33, also attended.
The 62-year-old said: “I had one child at the school and had been a pupil myself so I thought ‘why not?’”
Mrs Rose – who is stepping down after moving to Ducklington, West Oxfordshire – said: “It has been a very much evolving role. Governance has changed drastically in 25 years.
“Before, we didn’t have a great deal of responsibility but now the responsibility on the governors is huge. I think the Government thought they could get a lot for nothing. Governors are all volunteers.”
A key change was the 2010 move to a blazer and tie uniform, one that saw a 13-year-old repeatedly sent home for her short skirt and lip piercing.
Mrs Rose, who works in accounts for a vehicle parts supply firm, said: “It has had a huge impact on self respect. It has given the school an identity and the students an identity.”
Putting a mix of ages into tutor groups instead of keeping them within one year had a positive impact, she said.
“We felt that it would help to integrate the younger ones so they don’t feel threatened by the older year groups.”
The school has more freedom from Oxfordshire County Council for issues like the curriculum and finances since becoming an academy in 2012. No “drastic changes” have taken place though leaders hope it will allow lessons to be better targeted at children of different abilities.
Asked about challenges during her time, Mrs Rose said: “If we had a bottomless pit of money it would be brilliant but we don’t.
“There are budget challenges all the time to deliver the curriculum we want to deliver and keep the staff we want to keep.”
Sweeping Government reforms, such as the redrawing of grade boundaries and a move towards exams instead of coursework had “disillusioned” some teachers she said.
Mrs Rose said of pupils: “Some people don’t perform under exam conditions. Some people go to pieces, they become nervous wrecks.”
Yet she said: “I have every confidence in Gosford Hill School.
“It has great leadership, I can’t speak highly enough of it.
“One of the sayings is learn, lead, inspire and they learn well, they will be leaders and they will continue to inspire people.”
In 2010 some 44 per cent got at least five GCSEs including English and maths and this was 61.4 per cent last year.
Headteacher Stephen Bizley said: “An effective and supportive chair of governors is worth their weight in gold to a headteacher.
“Doreen Rose deserves Gold Medal recognition for her relentless commitment to education over many years.”
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