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To actually agree with the Tories about something....

(43 Posts)
zeezeek Thu 17-Mar-16 19:27:26

It was announced today that schools no longer have to have parent governors and I actually think that's a great idea. I have been a governor at a school in the town where I work for nearly 10 years now. I'm not a parent there I was "recruited" by one of the LA governors who also happens to be a colleague of mine. She asked me to stand for election due to some very specific skills I have regarding analysing and interpreting data.

In the last few years I've found that out role has changes massively and we are expected to have more of a director role in schools, and with that has come a massive increase in workload and expectations. It is no longer possible to turn up at a meeting and stay quiet - governors are al, expected to be critical friends and hold the SLT to account. This is something that my school has developed over the last few years, and that has been helped by being able to recruit people to the Board who have professional experience and skills.

The days of the governing board being composed of crusty old men and housewives is well and truly over and has been for some time. As well as my skills handling data, we have accountants, solicitors, teachers, HR experts and business owners and senior public sector managers. Our last OfSTED inspection rated leadership (which includes governance) as outstanding and we were complimented for our ability to understand the issues of the school and community and hold the head to account.

My point, after rambling on for ages, is that the government is right -we need to look at the skills that a governing board needs and not just concentrate on selecting people from certain categories. If parents have those skills, the great, they will not be excluded - but to say that their only "skill" is that they have a child at the school is wrong and not to the good of the school or the children.

pointythings Thu 17-Mar-16 20:18:54

In an ideal world and with a different government this might perhaps be a good idea. In a world where all schools will now be forced to be academies, it just means that schools will not have to have any accountability at all and can be run by a bunch of cronies, who will siphon off contracts for support work to business they have a stake in and make tons of money. This move will strip away the last representation we - ordinary people - can have in the schools our children go to. Trusting the Tories with this is crazy.

Coldtoeswarmheart Thu 17-Mar-16 20:23:12

^ this.

YABU.

witsender Thu 17-Mar-16 20:24:06

I'm a governor too, but really can't see why they want to do away with it. It is one place on the body, that guarantees a voice for parents. It seems very undemocratic to remove that seemingly for no good reason. I know my school is keen to keep the role regardless.

Fayrazzled Thu 17-Mar-16 20:31:18

Parents are important stakeholders in a school and should have representation on the governing body IMO.

zeezeek Thu 17-Mar-16 20:36:58

At present we have some very good parent governors so absolutely would like them to stay, but can see a scenario (which has happened before) where we were unable to have a highly skilled community governor (co-opted now) because the only place we had was a parent vacancy. And we ended up with a complete knob.

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Mar-16 20:37:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Washediris Thu 17-Mar-16 20:39:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lougle Thu 17-Mar-16 20:43:06

We're an OFSTED outstanding school, with 6/13 positions being parent governors. I have been a governor for 5 years. Being a parent makes no difference to your role as a governor. Once we step through the door we have to leave our personal interests behind.

ConfuciousSayWhat Thu 17-Mar-16 20:43:06

My husband is a parent governor and his workload for the school is bonkers. He's often in the school interviewing children for their views on x y and z policies and teaching methods and procedures to report back to meetings. He attends regular meetings after work and resource committees etc.

He's passionate about our DC's education and believes the best way to ensure they get that is to assist and support change from within. We both loathe the pta BTW. So much money mismanagement from that direction and complete refusal from the pta to spend any of the flipping money on things other than frivolities

backwardpossom Thu 17-Mar-16 20:44:52

Why on earth would you think LESS parental involvement with schools is a good idea?

Exactly this.

ConfuciousSayWhat Thu 17-Mar-16 20:45:33

Oh to put the popularity contest falacy to bed. We have so few parents volunteer at our school there is no need for elections.

The pta on the other hand is a complete bitchfest

lalalalyra Thu 17-Mar-16 20:47:24

I think it's a terrible idea. I think parental input is essential, especially when schools are going through changes. Who will hold the school accountable for anything that is failing the pupils if not the parents?

zeezeek Thu 17-Mar-16 20:49:56

Lougle - that's what is supposed to happen, yes and with the parent governors we have now, we have that. However, so many of the ones we've had have been elected because they are popular and tend to have their own agenda.

I don't even know who the parent governors are at my children's school so as a parent, they are not representing me.

Washediris Thu 17-Mar-16 20:50:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alltouchedout Thu 17-Mar-16 20:52:08

I'm a foundation governor at our school (and also a parent, but not a parent governor). I think it's hugely important for parents to be be involved at this level.

Washediris Thu 17-Mar-16 20:54:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Washediris Thu 17-Mar-16 20:55:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ConfuciousSayWhat Thu 17-Mar-16 20:58:26

There is nothing stopping you being involved. At our school the governors photos, names and contact details are in prominent position in the front entrance by the office. Frequent letters come home saying the governors are doing x initiative or have reported on y and stated z. It's always in the newsletters to contact them, to contact the school, to attend the heads coffee mornings...

Not sure what more they can do!

witsender Thu 17-Mar-16 21:00:17

My brain boggles that anyone thinks removing a statutory obligation for parental representation is a good idea, especially now.

topcat2014 Thu 17-Mar-16 21:00:54

I am a parent governor (and accountant, as it happens), DP is on PTA. PTA is barred from spending on things that should come from school funds (ie books, computers), and has to spend on extras to the benefit of all pupils.

Helps that I dont have a public sector background - but I must say all the policies etc get a bit inpenetrable to me.

Data gets hard to follow, given that things change every year. Financial reports are hard to follow because schools dont follow normal accounting.

Glad this is primary school - wouldn't want to be a secondary governor.

don't think my child's experience is affected one iota by me being governor - and I never get a seat at the christmas play btw.

Washediris Thu 17-Mar-16 21:04:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ConfuciousSayWhat Thu 17-Mar-16 21:05:51

Yep they shouldn't spend on things that are to come from the budget but the chair of our pta will only champion projects her dc will personally benefit from...

Dh has never had a seat a play either but we have had snippy comments from people when our dc got the lead role in the play...our dc attends a stage school outside of school and was the most confident for the role and, more to the point, the only person to learn their lines! Nothing to do with governor status grin

ConfuciousSayWhat Thu 17-Mar-16 21:06:56

Then kick up and get the parents together and make another parents forum and invite governors or teachers or the head to participate. Make it a thing on your agenda if it's important to you.

Washediris Thu 17-Mar-16 21:10:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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