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Advice please On first governors meeting as a parent governor .

(24 Posts)
trace2 Sun 12-Mar-17 21:32:25

Hi I have my first meeting tomorrow after only just been elected , I have no idea What to wear or take to the meeting ? No idea if I have bitten off more than I can chew , but willing to give it a go .Our school as gone in to special measures and want to help bring the school back up again! Any advice is welcome ?

viques Sun 12-Mar-17 21:36:22

Don't dress up! I would take an empty folder to put in any documents that you are handed, and a pen , there will be pens there and paper but I like my own pens. I would also take a bottle of water because I don't like tap.

sit , learn and listen . try to remember who everyone is.

viques Sun 12-Mar-17 21:38:59

Ps you should have been send an agenda for the meeting, and possibly minutes of the last meeting, which you didn't go to. Make sure you have read these.

lougle Sun 12-Mar-17 21:40:25

Wear whatever you are comfortable in. I'm a chair of governors and I quite often wear jeans and a jumper to a meeting. Obviously, if I was performing a function such as interviewing for new staff, meeting OFSTED inspectors, etc., I'd dress more formally, but in-house meetings are casual dress.

As for what to take, if your clerk emails papers out in advance, you may want to print a copy to refer to in the meeting. Otherwise, the Clerk may supply a copy of all papers at the meeting - if you are unsure, you could contact them and ask. You might want to take a sheet of paper to jot down any questions that arise during the meeting that you are unsure of but you don't want to necessarily ask publicly. Things you don't understand, or want the history of.


trace2 Sun 12-Mar-17 21:41:25

Thanks viques so smart casual? Just wish I had some info to start with? Feel like am going in . Thank you

birdsdestiny Sun 12-Mar-17 21:41:58

Honestly don't worry about what to wear. Take pen, paper, you should have been sent minutes of last meeting, agenda, headteachers report well before the meeting. If you haven't received these it may be because the system hasn't caught up with your appointment yet, reading those papers will help you prepare for the meeting. Make sure you ask to attend new governors training course. I would say for the first couple of meetings do a lot of listening. Read the ofsted report carefully.

lougle Sun 12-Mar-17 21:42:02

Oh! Bring your diary. Make sure you can say when you are available for a meeting or event.

SweetieBaby Sun 12-Mar-17 21:43:19

Pens, notebook, any papers you've been sent plus you usually need to show the clerk your passport (or other ID ) at the the first meeting you attend.

No one will expect anything from you at your first meeting. Just listen and get a feel for how things are done but don't be afraid to ask a question if there's something you don't understand.

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Sun 12-Mar-17 21:43:29

I have been a parent governor for almost a year, I agree that the first meeting is pretty intimidating. Dress at ours is a smart casual type thing - some people come straight from work so are more business smart.

If you get the paperwork before hand try to get familiar with the key parts - head teachers report is a good place to start. At my first meeting I listened a lot & spoke very little. With hindsight I wish I had written down people's names as we went round the table & introduced ourselves.

It will take a few meetings to really get to grips with what's happening.
Make sure you have a good understanding of why your school has been placed in special measures - especially if there was any criticism of Governors or leadership

Good luck

highinthesky Sun 12-Mar-17 21:43:32

Wear everyday clothes, a suit is not necessary!

There will be a lot to soak in, and a lot that you may not be familiar with for a while. I dare say the turnaround plan will be the priority! I would suggest reading The Perfect (OFSTED) school governor by Tim Bartlett sooner rather than later. It's a good place to start if you have no previous knowledge, and you need to be clear about what your responsibilities are as a parent governor.

trace2 Sun 12-Mar-17 21:45:17

Thanks lougle that's put me at ease . I'll try and print them off .

trace2 Sun 12-Mar-17 21:48:58

Thank you ladies knew you would all help 😀 Iv not been on here for over a year glad I am back x

bojorojo Mon 13-Mar-17 20:05:08

It is a legal requirement that you do receive agenda items in advance. I think there are some important things for you to understand as the school is in SM. The school should now have a Governing Body with experience. You don't have any so you need to catch up really quickly. Just going along to help won't cut it when an Inspector comes back in about 6 months. You will have to get up to speed quickly.

To do this, do the training as soon as you can. Have a briefing session with the Chair and the Head. Understand, fully, what the issues are facing the school. When the Improvement Plan is written you need to monitor it so actual improvements take place otherwise it is not worth a bean.

If the issues are poor teaching and poor assessment and lack of progress it will be a bumpy ride. Focus on the need to improve for the sake of the children. Go on a course to learn about understanding school data, school improvement and Ofsted inspections - urgently . You are not expected to report back to parents and you are there to challenge the Head but be supportive at the same time.

What you wear and other niceties are on the periphery. You must make a difference. I would love to know how your meeting went and what the next steps are. Do you have an induction planned? Do ask if you are not sure about anything.

admission Mon 13-Mar-17 21:07:22

Not sure whether it is just the timing or what but having been elected I would have expected the Chair of Governors to have invited you to a meeting, including the head teacher, where the general issues that you have concerns about are discussed and you shown around school etc.
Obviously that has not happened and may give a pointer to what has happened to end up with the school going into special measures.
As others have said this is the point where what has been said on the Ofsted report about the GB needs to be understood. I would expect at the very least for there to be a couple of experienced governors to be bought in to help ensure that the GB is asking the right questions of the head teacher.
There is however a possibility that you will find that your reign on the GB may be short-lived. If the GB have been criticised in the report then the LA may decide that the best way forward is to replace the old GB with an Interim Executive Board (IEB) who will all be experienced educationalists.
If that does not seem to be happening then the priority for the GB is to be agreeing an action plan on how to improve things at school and the first question has got to be, is the head teacher capable of leading the school forward and upwards or not?
If you want to talk on PM I am more than happy to do so. I am a national leader of governance helping other school governing boards and currently chair an outstanding primary school.

DanFmDorking Tue 14-Mar-17 13:15:25

How did the meeting go?

trace2 Tue 14-Mar-17 17:06:44

Wow it was hard work ladies not sure I'll cut it tbh 😥 I am intrested but found lots I don't understand and I felt like they don't believe they have failed ! We have a new chair and vice chair and brought someone in from a other school . I wanted to listen first time and try and get my head round it sounds like a lot of hard work? I am intrested in SEN Iv tried reading all day there is lots they failed on . But I also feel they not working quick enough on picking it up like they dragging there feet. also am booking on training but it's not till June , I asked at the end if I can meet with some governors or others to help me try and understand more, they all said yes but no clear guidance😥 I will pm you if that's ok ? X

lougle Tue 14-Mar-17 17:18:10

They may be feeling quite overwhelmed. They will be getting a lot of input from the local authority, who will be wanting to see a lot of change, very quickly. The Governors are not involved in the day to day work of the school, but should be involved in the strategic management of the school. Making sure your policies are robust, fit for purpose, implemented and evaluated. Making sure that your teaching and learning doesn't disadvantage any particular group of students, and if any particular subset of students are shown to be falling behind, challenging school leaders to developing an action plan to tackle it, etc.

trace2 Tue 14-Mar-17 17:26:25

Yes I think they are overwhelmed ! And we are a 4 to 16 school so two heads and both governors maybe that's like all school governors? We a loverly school as all say coming into the school but find lacking on education side but we a school need the education x

admission Tue 14-Mar-17 22:42:06

What you describe is typical of a school that has just gone into special measures. Too many governors still looking like they are staring into the headlights, waiting for the car to hit them.
I would approach the new chair and vice chair offering your services but saying you know nothing and need to learn. I suspect that if they have been parachuted into the governing body then the first thing they will be doing is checking out what the other governors do or more importantly do not do.
As a GB you now need to be coming up with an action plan with the SLT, but that is not going to be easy if there are two school head teachers within the school - has it all gone into special measures? There must be action and whilst the GB cannot be operational they need to be being assured that the SLT of the school know what they are doing and more importantly are doing it. You need as a GB to get some independent opinions about the real state of the place, because there is every likelyhood that it is worse than you are currently being told and what was on the Ofsted report.
More than happy to chat on PM if you wish to.

alabasterangel Tue 14-Mar-17 22:53:09

I've been a parent governor for many years. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I'm typing on my phone and can't waffle for ages.

Does your local authority have a governor support unit? They taught me everything. How to challenge and on what, who to address, what to expect in the governors file what my commitments were. Couldn't have done it without them? Loads and loads of training available.

Challenging is the key thing and no one will expect you to know it at the first meeting - it took me a year to feel at ease.

Visits are key but you have to go in armed with the questions you want answered and seeking resolutions. I've just done another round of report writing on literacy and it can be daunting at first but you'll get it, it's ok. Enjoy your time in school too, it's for everyone's benefit and teaches you so much more than meetings do.

admissons has wise words. Ditto here, message if you want to by all means,

Theworldisfullofidiots Tue 14-Mar-17 23:02:55

I'm a chair of governors. We always pair a new governor with an experienced governor and do a sort of induction. Our LA also does an new governor course. Don't be afraid to ask question (any questions) chances are they will be very useful and others will be wondering too, even those of us who've been doing it for years. We always have some kind of learning/development slit on our FGB. Tge topic usually arises because someone has said, I want to know more about x, or I don't really get why we do y.
Also take the time to build relationships, it is much easier to ask challenging questions when the relationships are good.

Theworldisfullofidiots Tue 14-Mar-17 23:03:23

Slot not slit!

bojorojo Tue 14-Mar-17 23:23:04

Even if you cannot access LA Governor training until June, you can still get training. As you are SM, I would have expected the whole governing body to be training so they understand how to improve. You should all be given roles regarding monitoring the outcomes of the SDP and this will take precedence over any other aspects of work. What you are interested in may have to take a back seat if the SEN provision is ok because what is dire needs attention first. When the inspectors return they will evaluate progress towards your improvement targets. This is why experienced Governors often take over at this point. There is no time to be lost I'm afraid.

Book a meeting with the Chair immediately and familiarise yourself with the issues facing the school. Try and get whole Governing Body training on school improvement. What are the issues you face? I know a joint 4-16 school near me and that has all sorts of problems too. Maybe one GB just does not work for primary and secondary? Both phases have different issues I think.

trace2 Wed 15-Mar-17 16:21:16

Again thank you iv done lots of emailing and phoning today asking for help to understand , then am thinking am I wasting there time? I already got question to ask ,but was told the meeting other day was about planning not questions . I will inbox you later so thank you for this x

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