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To think being a school governor is a bit of a con?

(10 Posts)
dejavuaswell Wed 05-Oct-11 08:19:38

I have done it for 10 years as a parent then as a community governor for the local 11-18 school. All the important decisions are made by the HT and the inner circle of Local Authority governors. Now it is proposed that sub-committees will become "by invitation only" which I guess will exclude all but the previously mentioned inner circle.

Birdsgottafly Wed 05-Oct-11 08:30:58

Part of the problem now is that the law and guidelines set by individual LA's have to be followed, so there has to be less involvement with decision making by 'lay people'.

I have challenged some of the decisions that were propossed, as my time as a school governor, based on policy, usually in the favour of SN pupils.

It depends on the circumstances but as well meaning as some people are you now have much more to consider than just 'the facts' of a situation.

dejavuaswell Wed 05-Oct-11 08:41:41

I think quite a few of us have worked long and hard to master the law and LA guidelines relating to schools. I'm not convinced the fairly newly elected (bye-election) district councillor has that knowledge since he mentioned in his "hello" speech that he hadn't been a school governor before. It didn't stop him being proposed for vice-chair. He didn't get in despite the HT telling us that only LA governors can be chair or vice chair, which is 100% wrong!

DartsRus Wed 05-Oct-11 08:52:38

ALL School governors have to be involved. I would be very critical of a school acting like the one mentioned by dejavuaswell, and I've been a parent governor myself, and a fully involved one - Vice-chair being one of the positions I had.

Schools are now judged by OFSTED on how their governing body performs. And the LA governors can be anyone who applies, they are just as likely to be "lay people" also, as far as schools and the law goes.

aldiwhore Wed 05-Oct-11 08:59:41

I do think it depends on the headteacher and other LA governors. Our school governors are fairly strong and the HT/LAG's are supportive, our Chairman is a school Dad, and doesn't take orders.

choccyp1g Wed 05-Oct-11 09:04:56

*the LA governors can be anyone who applies* the trouble is, people don't get told that there are vacancies.
For example, I was a bit surprised at our latest governors meeting; one of the community governors' term was coming to an end, and it just went through "on the nod", that she would continue for another 4 years. As it happens, she is very good, but it does seem too easy for it to become a clique.
We did have a bit of a debate about sub-committees, the head thought it was his choice as to which committees new governors should be placed onto. Some of us disagreed with that, and it is now clear that the governors as a whole choose the members of the sub-committees.
What I've learnt is that you have to be prepared to speak up, and also, if there is an issue you feel strongly about, have a chat to possible like-minded governors in advance of the meeting.

Birdsgottafly Wed 05-Oct-11 09:15:24

As i said it depends on what the decision is that is being made.

In the case of a LAC, the governors have to take their lead from the EWO and SW/SS etc, so they don't make the decisions in the same way as they would have done when you started. Not all school governors are educationg themselves and in it for the right reasons, especially were the population is smaller, so less choice, and as you have pointed out, the voting isn't fair.

gramercy Wed 05-Oct-11 09:25:42

I can see both sides.

There is a fair amount of churn on school governing bodies. I have seen many parent governors come in and most of them don't understand that they are "representative OF" the parents and not a "parent representative". They come in, guns blazing, wanting to discuss issues such as the school car park, or have a particular axe to grind, such as SN or G&T.

Good parent governors will be seized upon and when their time is up will probably move to being a community governors because it would be a real shame to lose the expertise they have built up.

OTOH I do understand that gov bodies can be very cliquey. When I first joined it was quite difficult to break into the discussions and the Chair was incredibly frosty.

However, in time I showed that I could analyse data with the best of 'em and carved myself out a role in safeguarding/law/recruitment.

So I don't think gov bodies are generally looking to pack the body with their mates, rather than trying to ensure that the most able, committed people are retained.

gethelp Wed 05-Oct-11 09:50:28

I think anyone who is a Governor is a hero, the amount of work you are expected to do and responsibility you hold is enormous. We have a very helpful Governor Support Unit at our LA who are invaluable when things seem to be going 'wrong' in terms of organization.

DartsRus Wed 05-Oct-11 10:05:15

In our LA, you can look at the LA website and somewhere under education there is a section where people can apply to be an LA governor. You can nominate a particular school you're interested in or just highlight locale, secondary or primary, etc, and get selected for any school. Applications go before a panel at the LA.

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