Parent Governor? What does it involve...(24 Posts)
Not much,parent governor at dds school doesnt seem to do anything or be seen.Maybe he goes to big important meetings behind closed doors to discuss schools future.!
For me it involves six full governing body meetings a year, ie one every half term. All governors are on at least one committee as well and they meet at least three times a year - more if there is a lot of work to get through. These meetings can be anything from an hour to two and a half.
There is also training which is optional but advisable - ie I have done introductory training for governors which entailed one evening a week for four weeks. We also commit to visiting the school and observing classes at least once a year (pref more) and reporting back to governors.
As a parent governor you will be buttonholed by parents at the school gates/ in the park too raising concerns.
I would imagine the workload varies according to the school and the issues it has to deal with - in a well managed, financially ok school you will probably have less workload than, say, a school that is recruiting for a head and has financial problems.
There is a website for www.governornet.co.uk with loads of info. I am really enjoying it - it's a great way to be involved with the school and make sure they look at issues from a parents pov.
For me it meant all that puddle said and I really enjoyed my stint doing it. I felt really involved with the school. I did various training and was on various committees. It was only a small school.
The downside was being on the committee that permanently excluded a 7 year old boy for having a 10" knife concealed in his coat, and having to sit in the meeting with his mother when I knew we had to stand in the playground later waiting for children!
It makes the school seem very rough but he did have behavioural problems and she was quite glad he was excluded so she could get some help with him. Also, he only brought it in to show his friends apparently!
At our school being a parent governor seems to entail blocking in as many cars as possible in the car-park. When people throw harrassed/late for work looks his way, the governor loudly shouts 'I am a Governor!'
Also, our governor is very good at confidentiality. He has taken standing on one side of the car-park and bellowing things like 'the new head has been appointed and the letters go out on Monday' to another governor chum.
Methinks he bellowed just to make sure that anyone not previously boxed-in by him would realise that he was, indeed, a very important governor.
I could carry on with more duties if required.
I'm sure that they are jolly useful people really. I just adore watching this one particular chap.
Thanks all. Interesting to get the governors point of views (positive) and other parents (not so positive)
I've put my name forward today, so we will see what happens.
Am also a parent governor at ds's junior school. Agree with puddle, but, just because a school is well managed and financially ok (as is my school) doesn't mean that you will have less work. At my school, most governors leave the full governing body meeting with something to do. However, I do work with someone that is also a PG at another school, and she very rarely has any work to do, other than attending meetings.
I have been a PG for 2 years now, and am Chair of Finance, and, Vice Chair of Governors. Alot also depends on how much you want to get involved.
At my school each governor sits on 2 committees which meet termly, and also has responsibility for a specific subject area. Mine is ICT, I have to do lesson observation at least once per year, meet with the subject co-ordinator to discuss progress on the targets in the school development plan.
2 years ago the parent governors at my school set up an extra 'committee' to discuss issues that affect parents. Since then we have sought the views of parents by sending out quesionnaires to the new year group each year, and the outgoing year group. We have worked with the Headteacher on some of the issues that were raised. Our next job is to do a whole school survey.
Everything we do is reported to the relevant committee, and also by the committee chairs to full governors.
We (as a governing body) are also expected to have a presence at school events; Parents evening, summer fayre, school plays etc.
Definately use governornet as a tool to help, there is lots of useful information on there, as well as a discussion forum.
There is always something to do, if you want to do it.
Too many governing bodies are just that group of 'invisible' people who don't really do anything. As parent governors we should be making ourselves known, letting other parents know that we are approachable and may just be able to help.
cod, I am not sure if your tone is full of glee or despair
I've been one for almost a year now. I joined a pretty well-established governing body and still feel like an outsider a lot of the time. A lot of things seem to be moved along pretty quickly and the big decision-making committees like finance and recruitment only have the ones who have been on the committee for years. I find that when I bring up parents' concerns they often don't seem to be taken seriously (I always raise issues though). Puddle and rbj have summed-up the role very well.
Is it your child's school?
Just wanted to say thanks so much for everyones posts. I'm a parent gov and I've been asked to speak at an induction evening at my school. I wasn't really sure what to say but on reading all your posts I have now come up with something which I hope will explain what we do. So thanks again everyone.
Our school has 6 full governing body meetings a year and 6 of each of the sub-committees meetings per year also.
As I am on two sub-committees, I have at least 18 per year. Plus the odd extraordinary meeting (two so far).
Our most recent parent governor seems to have taken over the school PTA Facebook site trying to tell all the parents what they should or shouldn't do and lots of pictures of her listening to kids reading. Sure she will be shouting across the playground soon, announcing she is the ruler of the school.
It's one of those jobs that is what you make it - it can be all-consuming and before you know where you are you're the Chair and can't escape and it rules your life (me a few years ago), or you can rock up to meetings having not read the paperwork and contribute bugger all. But always bear in mind that when Ofsted come calling they will want to talk to governors and you do need to have a good understanding of (at the very least) the data and a whole lot more. But I would certainly recommend it - it gave me skills and interests that gave me my current job, so was very rewarding quite aside from the sense that you're helping your school to improve.
Just a thought - Governors should not really be observing classes. They actually know nothing about education unless they are, or have been, a teacher. Having parents come in to observe lessons is never a good idea. Teachers have enough stress. As a parent, I would never dream of feeling I was qualified to observe a teacher's lesson or comment on it and so it is a purely pointless exercise.
Appreciate this thread is dead but - I will continue this with cherish. It is absolutely what a governor does - observe lessons. Not to talk about how good or bad the teaching was, but to know what actually goes on in the school. Are the children engaged, is learning taking place in a quiet purposeful manner? etc. It is vital that governors know their school. Learning walks are what every governor should do. They may also observe a subject being taught and this is needed because they are monitoring an improvement plan. It is vital they actually see children being taught. They need to draw up strategic plans and work with the Head on school improvement. To do this, they must know the strengths and weaknesses and check on how the school is improving and that the measures are actually having some impact. The Governors are responsible and they are trained to do learning walks and there is a protocol they follow when visiting a classroom.
bojorojo - "Are the children engaged" - this is part of the way of judging whether a lesson is good or not. Children can be engaged in a number of ways - that is not always obvious. Ultimately, the content of the SIP is down to the HT and staff. No wonder the standard of education is falling!
Many governors do not know what modern education looks like, so it's important that they are sometimes there in the school day and get to know it. If not, they could be imagining what it was like in their day which is very, very different to now. Yes a zombie thread but cherish123 governors are going to be learning themselves and looking at the good rather than being overly critical.
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