Paid Governors

(120 Posts)
NoComet Wed 27-Feb-13 14:59:13

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw wants paid governors.

I am just the sort of non professional, parent governor he hates.
I put in many hours of my time for free, attending meetings, reading documents, understanding data. (Yes, I do understand the data) and attending trainings.

I have two DCs at the school and I care passionately about their education. I care that they make more than three levels of progress and get 5 A-C GCSEs.

I care that the school employs good staff and balances the books so it can continue to provide them.

But I also care about the buses, the lunches, the extracurricular activities, the concerts and the plays.

I care about the state of the buildings, the toilets and the decrepit boiler.

Some of these things have a direct financial implications and all of these things impact on pupils, and often, staff moral.

If you are cold, missed lunch because the queue was too long or you are getting bullied on the bus you are not going to concentrate in lessons.

If you find making friends difficult then choir or painting scenery for the play can make lunch time way more bearable.

If home life is difficult it may be far easier to talk to a teacher you've got to know well on a school trip, than your head of house.

Yes, the bottom line is achieving qualifications, but to do that you need pupils who feel safe and valued.

The most Outstanding teacher in the world can't deliver an Outstanding lesson to a pupil who is being bullied and refuses to come to school.

jennybeadle Wed 27-Feb-13 15:04:45

I totally agree with you. OP. Wrote a big wrong reply, but you've said it actually.

NoComet Wed 27-Feb-13 15:06:10

In short schools need some of their governors to care about more than the bottom line and to sweat the small stuff the SLT may not have time for.

Our DCs are more than a project to be managed!

annh Wed 27-Feb-13 15:24:49

The more I read from that man, the more irritated I get. I am also a school governor and think payment would attract all the wrong sort of people. If you are not interested in being a school governor as a volunteer, how is payment suddenly going to make it a more attractive proposition? For payment to make any difference, it would have to be set at a level which would then attract people with little interest in governance who would, however, see it as a nice little earner which could fit in around the school run.

Would all governors be paid - or only some? If only some, how do you decide which ones? How would that impact on the volunteer governors? And if the idea is to attract better-quality governors, how will this be decided/monitored? Will parent governors be interviewed and no longer decided by parent vote? Whose budget is this coming from?

grovel Wed 27-Feb-13 15:31:57

I suppose there might be an argument for having "professional" clerks to the governors. Magistrates are volunteers but have, in Court, a professional who can guide them through the trickier issues. It's still the beaks who make the decision.

grovel Wed 27-Feb-13 15:33:32

By the way I'm not recommending that - I'm simply pointing out another set of volunteers with responsible jobs who get "professional" support.

NoComet Wed 27-Feb-13 15:52:15

We already do have a clerk and she is brilliant, she takes minutes and circulates documents, oversees parent governor elections and a hundred and one other things, but she doesn't speak (beyond to clarify procedure) or vote at meetings.

annh Wed 27-Feb-13 16:06:16

But clerks already are "professionals" in the sense that it is an advertised role which goes to the best-qualified candidate and is paid. We used to employ ours direct but now get it through our LA training provider and she is brilliant. As she clerks for a couple of bodies, she is very competent, knowledgeable and up to date on all requirements.

grovel Wed 27-Feb-13 16:15:24

OK, I retreat. Graciously.

(Or should I suggest professional Chairs - like stipendiary magistrates. No, I don't think I will).

Elibean Wed 27-Feb-13 16:23:56

Agree, OP!

lljkk Wed 27-Feb-13 16:27:38

I would like all LEAs to offer to take over all community run preschools. I think it's a travesty that 50% of preschool ed in this country is directed by untrained unqualified inexperienced people.

Governors get way more support than preschool committees.

Wish Gove would set his sights on preschool management.

hermancakedestroyer Wed 27-Feb-13 16:36:35

I am a parent Governor at a small village school. I work part time at a secondary school and earn very little. I am very dedicated to my cause and happily attend meeting at my expense (as I travel a fair distance to attend). I attend courses willingly at my expense and do photocopying at my expense. With the economy being as it is and household budgets being tightened I'm actually thinking that I may have to relinquish my duties as a parent governor as I can no longer afford to do it. I would personally welcome a small income for doing the hours and putting in the huge amount of effort that I do and it may also go someway to making me feel valued which at the moment I don't.
I am not in anyway a Gove fan but think that paying Governors a small income should be considered. We are not all earning enough to be able to do voluntary work.

I was a school governor at my DC's Nursery School. It was interesting, especially as I care a lot about the early years. But I found it was actually quite difficult to raise independent questions and/or get our concerns as parent governors on the agenda.
The agenda already seemed very full to me.
I think it can be quite a confusing and frustrating experience for parents, though obviously people will have different skills and experience to bring to the role.

On the report I heard the Ofsted chief seemed to be saying contradictory things - on the one hand he wanted parent governors to be more challenging, and on the other he wanted them to support the head more !

hermancakedestroyer Wed 27-Feb-13 16:38:18

Also agree with IIjkk - pre-school committees get very little support and this also needs to be addressed.

TeamEdward Wed 27-Feb-13 16:41:50

OP, totally agree with you.
My DH is a parent governor at our DC's school (and their previous school too). He has been a teacher for nearly 20 years, and is on SLT at a local Academy, so he knows teaching from both sides of the desk IYSWIM. He gives his time, and it's a lot of time, freely and willingly to support the school and make it the best it can be. But after this morning's news report about Wilshaw's speech I can see how demoralised so many governing bodies must be feeling.
Gove & Wilshaw are determined to ruin Education. It makes me sick.
Paying a governing body will not improve a school - it's just a way to encourage privatisation of state education.
Sir Michael said weaknesses in leadership, including governing bodies, were a common problem among the 6,000 schools rated less than good.
6000 schools are rated less than good because Ofsted rapidly changed the grading boundaries and schools have not had enough time to adjust policies and procedures to meet these changes. The Governors cannot be blamed for that. Also, he says "leadership, including governing bodies" - anybody who has ever been involved in a school with bad leadership from a Head will know how hard it is for a GB to remove the person from that role. Again, GBs cannot be blamed for legalities and red tape concocted by the DfE.

<rant over for now >

TeamEdward Wed 27-Feb-13 16:45:00

lljkk I am on a local playgroup's committee and agree that the lack of support and training is shocking, especially as the playgroup now has to jump through so many EYFS hoops.

hermancakedestroyer Wed 27-Feb-13 16:46:17

The agenda does seem to be packed in these Governor meetings and it doesn't seem very clear to me as a parent Governor whether I'm supposed to liaise with parents to put forward their point of view. I think the government should produce a parent governor information pack to explain quite an unusual role.

annh Wed 27-Feb-13 16:47:36

Herman you should not be travelling or doing copying at your own expense. Does your governing body not have an expenses policy? Ours does and both travel costs and childcare (up to a maximum of about £20) is covered. In practice, I think hardly anybody every uses it but it is certainly available and offered to all governors. We do our copying on the school copiers.

Concerning pre-schools lljkk ....

Whilst I agree that it would be great to encourage and reward better qualified staff I don't think it's true to say that at present much early years ed is being run by "untrained, unqualified, inexperienced people"

I have a teaching qualification and a further early years qualification and have recently been working in pre-schools. I wasn't the only person there with a teaching qualification either, but sadly these were barely recognised, and not rewarded fairly.

Many of the staff had a lot of experience and there was a lot of good practice.
The pre-schools were Ofsted inspected and two I worked in had gained an "outstanding"

annh Wed 27-Feb-13 16:53:49

Herman sorry we cross-posted! Did you do the introductory training for governors? It is made very clear there that parent governors are there as parent representatives, and not there as delegates to represent parent views or to report back to them.

TeamEdward Wed 27-Feb-13 16:54:52

Juggling, I think lljkk was referring to preschool "governing bodies" or committees, not staff in the setting.

Poledra Wed 27-Feb-13 16:57:09

Herman, it was made clear to me by our Chair that I am on the governing body as a representative parent, not as a representative of the parents, IYSWIM.

Fair enough.

Anyway I do agree that pre-schools generally should be looked at in both their staffing structures and management to ensure all children benefit from an outstanding early years education - which will benefit them throughout their learning and life.

MamaChoo Wed 27-Feb-13 17:06:21

I don't mind being paid, obviously, but (a) it's not why I do it and (b) where is the money coming from, in these times of Austerity? Not out of my childrens' education budget I hope.

jennybeadle Wed 27-Feb-13 17:10:26

Herman you should ask your chair to point you in the direction of local authority training. Your authority should have a point person responsible for governors. You might find more info on your council website. e.g. here is teh page for Richmond Council Governor Support

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