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Parent Governors: Is it hard to wear two hats?

(9 Posts)
porfavour Sat 21-Nov-15 16:08:41

Just wondering whether parent-governors find it hard to separate their parent role from their governor role. As a parent you want the best for your own child, and if you can see there are issues you want to be able to raise them. But as a governor you have to do what's best for everyone, so while you're in a position to influence things, it must be awkward to strike the right balance when you touch on areas that are close to home.

Is it an issue? Do you find yourselves holding back from raising issues that you might otherwise raise as a "normal" parent? Or, so long you handle it carefully, is it more like having a fast-track way of sorting out the issues that you have visibility of in your parent role?

mamadoc Sat 21-Nov-15 16:26:48

It's just nothing like that at all.

It is meta level strategic stuff as a governor. Analysis of progress and attainment data, budget control, salary reviews, policy updates.

Behaviour issues in x class, a particular teachers performance most stuff that comes up as a parent is operational stuff that the head should be dealing with. I would never raise that stuff as a governor. If my own child has an issue I raise it with their teacher the same as everyone else.

You have to have some loyalty in my view. I do not criticise the head or the schools management of issues publicly whatever I think. (I might feedback discreetly if I hear a lot of negativity). I can never be tempted by a term time holiday or bend a school rule.

You are not the parent rep. You are a governor who happens to be a parent.

mamadoc Sat 21-Nov-15 16:30:05

In general I think that what I do in trying to improve the school overall for everyone improves it for my DC too.

You have to have a long term view though. The school has a big building project on. It causes disruption to my DD and she won't see the benefit but it is clearly in the interest of the school long term.

cornflakegirl Sat 21-Nov-15 16:38:22

I think your point about being a parent giving you visibility is spot on. I have raised lots of issues that I have encountered because of my DC - because I think they will affect other children. However, being a governor has also made me acutely aware of some of the challenges the leadership team face, so I might let smaller issues slide more.

VeryPunny Sat 21-Nov-15 16:47:50

What mamadoc said. It's a much more strategic role and TBH makes a lot of playground issues look trivial IMO. If for some reason a specific child came up at a meeting and you didn't feel able to be impartial, you'd just leave for that bit.

It's really rewarding but depressing at the same time seeing what crap teachers have to put up with.

TeenAndTween Sat 21-Nov-15 16:50:50

We have solved this in my family by me being the 'hands on' parent who deals with the DC's education details, and DH is a parent governor. smile

FreezePeach Sat 21-Nov-15 17:15:35

As a secondary school governor for the last 10 years I have seen several parents come on to the GB who obviously have a single agenda. Their DC. They have often been governors at local small village primaries where the GB / SLT relationship was, IMO, a little too informal. As mamadoc says It is meta level strategic stuff as a governor. Analysis of progress and attainment data, budget control, salary reviews, policy updates. It isn't about your DC.

I did find that I was more reluctant to raise issues about my own DC for fear of appearing to use Governor influence (for want of a better phrase).
So much better since my DC have now left the school.

niminypiminy Sat 21-Nov-15 17:27:54

Agree with all this about to the strategic role you have as a governor. However, I still think it's very difficult because as a governor you know so much about the school.

Where I'm a governor I knew that the HT was the problem with the school, and I knew about the dire shortcomings of his management style - very bad but not bad enough for capability. It was really hard at times not to take my own kids out of the school, and with one of them I think I should have.

You need to be able to carry all that knowledge -and not to pass it on. It was very hard when I used to hear other parents praising the HT and think 'if only you knew!'

CluelessClaudia Sat 21-Nov-15 17:47:22

It can's fine separating you hats if the school is a good one and your children don't have any particular issues. If the school's in special measures, or there are tough decisions to be made about staffing, or if your child has special needs it can be a very different prospect.

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