Hello. Aiming to be V vague here as obviously don't want to say anything that might out myself or my school. I'm a new school governor in a small primary school. I'm on one committee and there's been quite a lot to talk about recently, and some difficult decisions to make. The school and governing body is quite close-knit and at these committee meetings there's a lot of assumed background knowledge about the staff/issues in question. Other members of the committee tend to drive the meetings forward and I find myself struggling to make useful contributions.
There's a meeting upcoming where a key member of the governing body can't attend. I may be overthinking this, but I want to make sure I can be engaged and vocal at this meeting, as I feel like my 'spare wheel' status will be cemented if not. Can anyone with school governor experience offer any advice on how to prepare for and be effective at this meeting?
How approachable is your chair? You should be mentored as a new governor, so I would raise the question of how you can best get up to speed. Have you been on any training courses yet? Do you have access to previous minutes for the committee? It may be worth reading through these to get some background. Ask your clerk to see if they have electronic copies?
I believe this is much like the start of any new job. It will take a little while for you to find you feet, feel sufficiently informed and perhaps also confident enough to make a significant contribution. It is always possible to ask for background papers, old meeting notes or indeed to have a coffee with one or two of the other governors to get more backround and history. Dont beat yourself up though, it does take a little while to settle in any new role and I doubt anyone would expect you to be the lead contributor from day one. Good for you that you are keen to contribute and I think the school is lucky to have as engaged a governor as you. Best of luck!