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Governors thanking teachers - expected or patronising?

(17 Posts)
immunetoadvertising Sun 08-Oct-17 09:00:45

I'm a fairly new governor in a fairly new (academy) secondary school. We're a very committed and involved team of governors, with a high percentage of parents (not just elected parents). Following the recent open evening someone suggested we should write a note of thanks to the staff, and that led to wider discussion about whether there are other times in the year we should be doing the same.

What is the experience in other schools? I tend to think that as governors we are very much on the same team as the teachers, working together, rather than in some lofty position of patronage (for example several of us were helping at the Open Evening too), but I want to do what is right and expected, so don't flame me if I'm wrong about that - I'm asking because I want the advice.

BigGreenOlives Sun 08-Oct-17 09:04:38

I am not a teacher or a governor but have worked with many volunteers. I don’t think you can go wrong thanking people after they have put themselves out. Preparing for an open evening and attending it is adding to their workload, why not thank them. You could even say that having attended as a governor you could see how much effort they had put in.

MaisyPops Sun 08-Oct-17 09:04:56

Our governors thank us and we really appreciate it. When they are in schools abd they come into lessons they thank teachers as they leave.

Many of our governors support the PTA as well and attend events like the sunmer fair.

I think it's a lovely thing to do.

EllyOlly Sun 08-Oct-17 09:07:39

I work at a school where SLT & Governors regularly and meaningfully thank staff. Morale is high and so is staff retention. It also filters down into middle leadership and just generally makes for an emotionally intelligent place to work.

Legrandboucle Sun 08-Oct-17 09:14:12

I think it would be great to thank your teachers. At my academy we never even see the directors. I wouldn't even know what they looked like! We get a letter on their behalf once a year thanking us for our work. I think its really important for directors/governors to look at what actually goes on in a classroom and interact with students and staff.

JoJoSM2 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:35:48

I think that would be patronising. It's different for senior leadership team to do it - they manage the teachers and it's customary for a boss to give their staff a pat on the back for a job well done.

I would find it appropriate for governors to congratulate teachers on exam results or organisation of a major event or something but saying no 'thank you' would come across patronising to me.

JoJoSM2 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:36:31


JWIM Sun 08-Oct-17 18:02:12

Small Primary School Chair - I go in at the end of the year to speak to all staff in school to thank them for their work and support of the children and also send in a card on behalf of the Governors. At the start of the school year we leave a bag of staff room goodies for the 'back to school inset training' and a card wishing them well for the year. Sometimes a bright bunch of flowers. We want our staff to feel valued.
Our children are encouraged to apply the school's values and we hope the adults connected with the school, including Govs, will model those values too.
I have also experienced from and given thanks to staff in my own (not teaching) employment.

DumbledoresApprentice Sun 08-Oct-17 20:22:15

Governors thanking the staff is totally normal at our school. The Chair of Governors turns up to the first INSET day of term to congratulate us on results and thank us for our hard work. They also turn up at various points in the year (the staff Christmas meal, prize giving evening, the staff party after Ofsted, sometimes other inset days) and always make a point of thanking the staff for their work. I thought it was the norm everywhere and it would never have occurred to me to find it patronising.

Spudlet Sun 08-Oct-17 20:26:04

Maybe not thanks per say, but perhaps a note to say that you all thought it went really well, that people you spoke to at the event had given you really good feedback, that sort of thing?

I haven't been a teacher but I did work for a charity, and our trustees would often do something along those lines after an event or similar - not necessarily a thank you, but certainly a pat on the back, which is always nice to have IMO. So often, the only feedback people get is when someone has complained!

admission Sun 08-Oct-17 21:38:01

This is quite a difficult balancing act. Yes absolutely the whole of the staff and where appropriate individual members of staff should be thanked by the Chair of Governors on behalf of the governing board as and when it is appropriate.
However when it is thanks at every board meeting and every time you go into school then it soon looses it impact and becomes patronising and does not make staff feel as though they are valued.
Think this is one of those times when the head teacher and the chair of governors having a really good working relationship comes to the fore as to when is appropriate to give thanks and when not to.
In my big secondary school we have a rewards procedure which pupils, parents, staff members and the public can nominate staff every month. Those that are nominated get a formal signed letter from the head teacher and chair of governors and it is well received by staff when it is somebody else nominating them, not just the governors

BubblesBuddy Tue 10-Oct-17 17:36:23

The chair thanks the teachers at appropriate times at our school where I am a governor. We don't do it as individuals but I do thank teachers when I see them.

We are linked to the infant school next door and don't have an open evening. We have parents evenings and other events for parents but we tend to thank teachers for above and beyond. If it is a standard event to have new parents in, we don't give special thanks. We do say thanks if all the teachers come and do training with us and always at the end of term when we host a buffet for them. Frequent thanks does lose impact so the governors have to decide if the open evening was above and beyond and what else is in that category. If it is every parents' evening it would be a bit ott as this work is normally done by teachers.

Liadain Thu 12-Oct-17 18:41:13

You can thank them as much as you like, but I feel it should also go alongside a review of teacher workload and well being in the school (is that in the remit of UK governors? I don't know).

BubblesBuddy Fri 13-Oct-17 01:58:46

No it's not. Unless the budget stretches to extra staff of course. For many schools, that's unrealistic. We do review the well being of staff and work life balance. Many teachers now have job share. Most Governors do what they can within the budget. Heads should also be aware of workload but some teachers are more bothered than others about it. Some seem to positively thrive when they have extra responsibility.

Mumski45 Fri 13-Oct-17 19:26:33

So who thanks the Governors. You know, those people who volunteer to take on responsibility and work for no pay whatsoever and rarely any thanks. I agree that it’s good to thank teachers especially when they go above and beyond as it’s a tough job. But they do get paid, not nearly enough but they do. I would agree that a genuine thanks in certain circumstances is nice but to make it a routine for everyday stuff is inappropriate coming from someone who gets no pay and no thanks.

JWIM Fri 13-Oct-17 22:24:02

Well, as Chair, I thank our Governors for their commitment and hard work. I invite the pupils and parents to join me in thanking Govs at end of term assemblies etc. HT thanks them in Newsletter when they support school events/activities. Today a parent passed on some positive comments about an event in school this morning and expressed their thanks for all the school does - I will feed back to staff and Govs - anecdote yes, but we also survey parents too.

Piratesandpants Fri 13-Oct-17 22:27:22

Give positive feedback about the evening, if you've got some quotes from people you spoke to in the evening - include them. It will show they are valued and appreciated. It could be incorporated into the thank you from the Head.

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