Governor skills audit: Do I have the skills to remain on the GB?(14 Posts)
Our GB, like everyone else's, will be reconstituted this year, and we're conducting a skills audit to make sure we have the most effective GB we can. I was a parent governor for a 4-year term, and moved to a community slot when my youngest moved to secondary school. It's a church primary school, so the majority of governors are appointed by the church and the number of other governors will be reduced.
Due to health issues, I haven't worked in paid employment for a number of years, but have consistently held responsible voluntary postions since the DC were small. Skills audit discussions I've read seem to place a great deal of emphasis on experience in finance, business and education, none of which I possess to any significant degree. I do have academic and professional qualifications, but they're not relevant to the role of governor, other than perhaps being indicative of the capacity to understand data and produce reasonably literate reports.
I feel my contribution to the GB over the last few years has been appreciated, but looking baldly at the wreckage of my CV, I'm having something of a crisis of confidence. I know for a fact that there's no queue of better-qualified volunteers waiting to jump into my seat, but are my soft skills of commitment, intelligence, discretion and judgment good enough these days?
I bet you add a lot. All governors need to be capable of both supporting the school and also holding them to account. So re the later identifying and tactfully asking challenging questions based on analysis of data and reports, then ensuring that appropriate answers are obtained or questions keep on being asked, but maybe in a different way so that they do get addressed. People from the professions can do this well or badly, so don't put them on a pedestal, just ask yourself if you can, and if you do do this? Plus if you have been a governor for 4+ years already you will know a lot about education from all those meetings so you have valuable experience here. Having a range of skills is really helpful across the governing body and having someone who can come in during the day for ad hoc meetings requiring governor input is also really helpful. If you are still unsure, have a quiet chat with your chair about whether he/she thinks you are still adding enough value.
The skills audit we did asked us to rate ourselves on how much knowledge we had on areas we were on sub committees. It also asked if we ask questions, understand what's being discussed etc. it is intended to highlight governor training opportunities and sharing of skills. You have a lot to offer and I know from our perspective an experience governor is an asset.
Have a look at a resource our school uses, The Key Governor Support. It's perfect for supporting you in your role. They write articles based on questions asked by their members, which are then shared on their site for all subscribers. If you can't find what you're looking for then you can ask and get a response written for you.
Sorry, I meant to say, yes your skills are valuable, but this might help boost your confidence in specific areas.
Thank you for the encouragement and advice; they're much appreciated.
Like you, I had 'soft skills" when I was a governor. What was invaluable was going on some of the governor courses offered by the local authority. I became rather an expert on employment procedures/law/hiring/firing and data interpretation.
That being said governing bodies need people with finance/business skills. Many gb are filled with well-meaning people who think they are there to discuss school life or a change of logo on the sweatshirt and are clueless about budgets etc.
Community govenors are gold dust. If you have been a govenor for four years then you certainly have experience of education.
What areas of the curriculum are you currently supporting? If you feel you are lacking skills and would you like the opportunity to gain skills?
when I was a governor the self reviewing and skills audits and other drivel seemed to be good excuses to do little and edge out those who disagreed with the head
hang on in there OP
The HT certainly needs watching! I think he's slightly scared of my eye for detail.
Actually we have a really able GB, with plenty of experience of finance, business and HR, as well as education, and have during my term of office avoided school logo-type conversations. There were a few 'well-meaning' characters, who made me imagine myself professional and competent by comparison, but they've left now, leaving me feeling a bit like the only amateur. I agree that training is key here. I've been on a few courses but not as many as I'd like.
An eye for detail is certainly something to offer a school. A governor is a critical friend and constructively tearing polices apart is a useful skill. What area are you focusing on as a governor?
Early Years and Premises are my main areas of responsibility, but I have a pretty thorough knowledge of the work of most committees apart from Finance, where my grasp of detail is a bit basic. Thankfully it's enough to understand the people we have on board are damned good at what they do.
You have experience and commitment and that counts for an awful lot. I've always been slightly sceptical of governor skills audits - the GB's remit is strategic, and should not be concerned with the day to day management of the school so while HR experience, say, could be useful where there is a staff appeal it's going to be of little value most of the time. I've also come across governors who on paper tick the boxes in terms of skills but lack the necessary interest or real understanding of their role to make a meaningful contribution.
Keep doing what you're doing - an eye for detail is what makes a good governor.
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