Headlines: January 10th, 2001

A national advice line, to be known as GovernorLine, has been launched to give free help to the 370,000 governors of English schools.It offers a freephone number that any governor can use, to talk to legal, employment and other specialists and obtain advice quickly and easily from serving and experienced governors.

The project comes from recent consultation about streamlining the duties and responsibilities of school governing bodies, to make them more effective and the job less onerous.

All new governors will also be entitled to a new induction programme from September 2001 to help them fulfil their key roles in raising standards, providing strategic direction and local accountability.

GovernorLine has been developed as a joint project with the National Association of Governors and Managers and the National Governors Council. A third governor organisation, Information for School and College Governors, is represented on the management board.

It is funded by DfEE and operated by the teacher support network TBF (Teachers Benevolent Fund) at an annual cost of 160,000 pounds. The department is keen to stress that it in no way undermines governor services currently provided by local education authorities.

The advice line will be open from 9 am to 10 pm on weekdays, and from 11 am to 4 pm at weekends. The freephone number is 08000 722 181.