And a governors’ meeting for me, where I raised the subject of my successor. Not that I’m planning to stand down any time soon, but it’s time to start ensuring that I won’t be missed in the least. Mind you, the job keeps becoming more time-consuming and serious consideration will have to be done regarding the workload. Not only is there the main school and sixth form, which together have around 1300 pupils, but two other offshoot governing bodies are likely to be set up. In addition, one of our committees that presently meets annually is going to have a much heavier workload and I need to be involved in that. I go to most committee meetings because it’s so much easier to understand all the workings of the school if I’m thoroughly involved – which is also the reason I help in lessons. I left home at 11.30 this morning and returned at 5.30, three meetings later (no, I don’t enjoy meetings and they have to be thoroughly purposeful or they aren’t worth bothering with). I can fit it all in, but not too many people with full-time jobs could. Employers used to be much more understanding about time out for governor duties, but efficiency savings have cut that down considerably. However, I’ve done this (not all at this school) for … um … it’ll be 25 years in September. 18 years at one school and 14 years last autumn at this one. Anyway, I said that I can’t manage without my vice-chairman because she gives me so much back-up, I think we should revert to the practice of some years ago, and have a second vice-chair. I carefully looked at no one as I said this, or rather I only looked at the Headteacher, at the far end of the table. There are several people who are very capable of doing it, we’ve got really good governors, even the newer ones are very experienced (by virtue of governorship at other schools) and at least two are former Chairmen themselves at other schools (plus one at this one and a staff governor, who isn’t eligible here, who’s chairman at his village school).
Not that I know what I’ll do with my spare time when I do stand down, whenever that may be. There’s plenty to do here, but I’ve done the devotion to home and garden thing already and I’m not too good at going back. Travelling will become a less frequent option as the Sage gets older and needs me here more. There are lots of other voluntary jobs, but I have worked hard for no pay for so long and although I won’t be eligible for a pension for years (they keep raising the age and the prospect diminishes in the distance), that doesn’t mean I want any sort of commitment, not necessarily.
Partly, I feel introspective because the day has arrived, and I think I referred to it a few weeks ago, when I am older than my father was when he died. Many people outlive their parents’ age at death, of course, though I don’t know if it’s usual to be aware of it to the day – or so aware, at any rate. And more than forty years on, I still miss him.