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Parent Governor Elections feedback

(24 Posts)
Skippy38 Thu 19-Sep-19 18:57:13

As part of application I must provide a personal statement for the Elections, I’m looking for objective feedback to my draft.

I want to become a Parent Governor because I care deeply about the quality of all our children's time at the Federation. Exactly what happens at the schools can be a bit of a mystery and yet I feel that it is so important - not only what is being learnt, but how our children are experiencing learning and how supported they feel. I want all children to have the chance to be emotionally healthy, resilient, confident and well educated.

Whilst I have no previous experience as a school governor nor have I worked within the education system, I feel that I can cast an independent objective eye over the workings of the school and bring a fresh perspective to the work of the existing governors.

As parents we need to support the school but when necessary we should also put the school under tough scrutiny. I am not afraid to ask difficult questions but can balance this against working within a team.

The Federation is a unique welcoming community and just like all parents I want it to continue to succeed and improve further.

Lougle Thu 19-Sep-19 19:08:39

"over the workings of the school"

Make sure you are clear that you know that you are not there to influence the day to day running of the school. Governors are responsible for helping the school to set and achieve its strategic aims. They're not there to get in with the detail of daily school life.

Skippy38 Thu 19-Sep-19 19:28:47

Thanks for the feedback Lougle

GovernorGal Thu 19-Sep-19 22:20:43

I work in this field so can hopefully give you some constructive advice.

It can be really hard as a parent governor as other parents often assume you are there to represent parent views. As I’m sure you know parent governors don’t represent parents. They have exactly the same role as all other governors they just happen to be elected from the parent body. I’d try and include a sentence that demonstrates this, if only to try and ward off the inevitable ‘can you ask the governors if y2 can do more computing’ type questions that you’ll probably get from some parents if elected.

I’d also mention something about the specific skills you have that would / could be helpful to a GB, for example, do you have a background in finance, legal, HR, project management, good community links etc

I’d also suggest including something that shows you understand the role of governors is to provide challenge and support to the school and hold the school to account for the performance of all its pupils.

Good luck with you application!

Grasspigeons Thu 19-Sep-19 22:28:35

I dont get any sense of what skills you can offer that are relevant to governance but do know what you dont have (experience in governance or education appareny grin)
I dont say that to harsh but just as a hint on what to change.

Neolara Thu 19-Sep-19 22:36:18

I agree with others. You need to say what relevant skills knowledge or experience you can bring.

ineedaholidaynow Thu 19-Sep-19 22:36:20

I was going to say what skills do you have?

Do you know how much work is involved in being a governor? When I first became a parent governor I was very naive about what was involved

HugoSpritz Fri 20-Sep-19 08:46:48

I think you have misunderstood what the role of a governor including parent governor is. Have you asked for details of what is expected of you in the role/seen a "job spec". I am not sure what the role entails meets your expectations of what it is. Using the description of the role' duties your statement should set out the skills you have that enable you to carry out what is required.

Without sounding harsh yours sounds like an ideological ethos statement as it stands.

admission Fri 20-Sep-19 21:19:51

As a chair of governors I would be left, reading your personal statement, wondering what you can bring to the governing board. So you do need to say what experience you have that is complementary and will enhance the governing board. Plus show an understanding of the workings of the governing board.
However on the other side of the coin, I have no control over who is elected as the parent governor, that is for the parent body of the school. Again as a parent I am not seeing much that would make me vote for you. So you do need to put something in there that gives parents the believe that you are the right person to vote for.

Lougle Fri 20-Sep-19 21:40:31

I think everyone has made very valid points here (I was a parent Governor for 7 years, 2 as Chair). Much of your statement is about your feelings about the role of Governor. However, now more than ever, the role of Governor is demanding. As part of the Senior Leadership Team, the Governing Body can actually cause a school to fail their OFSTED. You have to be able to focus on OFSTED priorities, whilst maintaining the character of your school.

Impact of learning needs to be pulled apart - how do boys compare to girls? Is there a difference between classes (actual school classes, not societal classes)? What about children from traveling communities? Forces children? Looked after Children, Pupil Premium, etc. The school has to demonstrate the use of funding to narrow the gap in attainment and achievement. Even further, OFSTED now want to see that these children do even better (relatively) than non pupil-premium children.

Budgetary decisions are ever more difficult. Do you hire more NQTs to save money, or do you need more experienced teachers to strengthen the teaching? Although you wouldn't be solely responsible, these discussions would take place in budget meetings and you have to think of whole school benefit, not 'my year 3 DD would really benefit from....'

Election as a parent Governor is slightly different to other Governor roles, because you are elected by other parents, so you need to convince them that you have something to offer.

FuckOffBoris Fri 20-Sep-19 22:24:45

When the letter went out re electing a parent gov and asking for nominations, did it say what skills they were specifically looking for and how do you fit with those?

I am also a chair of govs and the line about bringing a fresh perspective to the work of the existing govs makes it sound as though you think they aren't very good and you can do better. That may be true, but won't endear you to your new colleagues if elected!

Travelban Sat 21-Sep-19 08:53:32

Cynical note here though.. This feedback largely depends on the type of parent population you are targeting.

I went for parent governor twice and failed to be elected. The person who won the first time was a mum with no experience of governance and no professional experience at all but very popular with parents, always at the school gates etc..

The other was a social worker and the statement. Was all around effectively how they knew all about children through their work.

I on the other hand have experience of governance both in education, charity, corporate and vast business experience including hr, finance etc... Didn't get a look in.

Skippy5638 Sat 21-Sep-19 13:50:49

Having a nightmare with IT.

Thanks for all the feedback, I have looked through all the comments and redrafted to show more about me and my understanding.

I have read the job description and the Governors book. I have also spent time with the current board to get a better understanding of school and their requirements before considering to apply.

My day to day work consists of writing policies and procedures ensuring they are effective in a quality systematic approach. I also work with the management team to audit governance and effectiveness.
—-

My name is Xxxx and I want to become a parent governor because I care deeply about the quality of all our children's time at Xxx Federation. Exactly what happens at the schools can be a bit of a mystery and yet I feel that it is so important - not only what is being learnt, but how our children are experiencing learning and how supported they feel. I want all of the children to have the chance to be emotionally healthy, resilient, confident and well educated.

If I were to be appointed I would aim to make a valuable contribution to the Governing Body, ensuring that the strategic goals of the school are in the best interests of all children and that the school’s leadership team is appropriately supported, with suitable policies, procedures and practices.

I will bring a varied skillset to the board, including the ability to confidently challenge and ask difficult questions where necessary. I currently work as a technical services officer with a focus on quality management and internal/supplier auditing, so I understand what a strong governance structure looks like. I am also good at listening, remaining objective and working alongside senior management to raise standards.

As a working mum, the decision to apply is not one I’ve taken lightly but I fully understand the commitment, both in time and energy it will take to be an active member of the Governing Body.

The Federation is a unique welcoming school community and just like all parents I want it to continue to succeed and improve further for the benefit of all the children who are lucky enough to attend now or in the future.

Grasspigeons Sat 21-Sep-19 14:19:24

It sounds better. I hope you succeed - it sounds like you have thought about it and have some good skills.
As PP said, It can be a bit of a popularity contest with parent governors so some unsuitable people win sometimes - but a co-opted role might come up if you werent familiar enough at the school gate so you governing body might need you soon either way.

TeenPlusTwenties Sat 21-Sep-19 16:42:23

Second draft way better than the first.
I would not have voted for you on the first, but could well vote for you with the second.

Lougle Sat 21-Sep-19 17:39:34

That's much improved.

ineedaholidaynow Sun 22-Sep-19 01:30:50

I was going to say if you don’t get voted on as a parent governor, you may be deemed just what they want by the board and co-opt you on.

HugoSpritz Sun 22-Sep-19 20:35:38

Great 2nd draft. Good luck.

GU24Mum Mon 23-Sep-19 22:35:31

Hello,

I agree with PPs that the second statement is much better. I've had a bit of a play around with some of the text so although I've probably cut too much out, hopefully some of the suggestions are helpful. By way of background, I'm a governor and have been through the process a couple of times!

I am XX and I have [ ] child[ren] in Year....

Since becoming part of the [ ] school community I am really impressed with the [describe a positive aspect of the school eg warm atmosphere/range of activities etc] and I would really like to play a part by joining the governing body.

Like all of us, I want our children's time at XX to be the best experience it can be. In particular I feel that all of our children should enjoy an education which will help them be emotionally healthy, resilient, confident and well-educated.

I have spent time looking into the parent governor role so I am confident that I know what is involved in being on the governing body. I work [full]part] time but this is important to me and I would like the opportunity to dedicate the time to the role and play a full part on the governing body if I were appointed.

In terms of specific skills, I am a technical services office in the [ ] industry and have experience at work on quality management and internal/external supplier auditing. I believe that this would give me a strong foundation for assessing and helping to maintain a strong governance structure at school. I am used to having to challenge information given to me in a confident and appropriate manner so I feel that I would be able to play a full part at governing body meetings.

Schools face a number of challenges at the moment so I hope you will give me the opportunity for me to help play a part in the contined success and build on it for the future for our children.

OP - are you applying to be a governor of a school or a federation? It's not quite clear to me but that might be my lack of knowledge of the school rather than your drafting!!

Skippy5638 Mon 23-Sep-19 23:35:00

GU24Mum, many thanks for your feedback I really do appreciate it.

We are a federation of 3 schools, one rural primary and a primary/senior school on one site. We have approximately 100 children across all years/schools.

The governing board oversee all of the schools.

ineedaholidaynow Tue 24-Sep-19 00:03:09

OP as a working parent will you be able to spare time during the day as well as the evening for meetings? A number of governors on our board are struggling with the time commitment expected, especially as we cover a number of schools so are expected to visit them all regularly.

Skippy5638 Tue 24-Sep-19 08:05:05

All of the meetings are scheduled for Monday evenings 6.30 as all of the board work. I also can take unpaid leave from work as my company support public roles/duties.

BlueChampagne Thu 26-Sep-19 13:32:03

Glad you've considered and addressed the time and commitment required. Our meetings are all in the evenings, but we end up going into school during the day to meet senior leaders and join learning walks as part of governor monitoring, so be prepared for this. However, the school where I'm a governor is LEA not MAT so requirements might be different.

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Sep-19 23:13:32

Travelban: I read what you said and your school was mad not to co-opt you. There are more ways than one to become a governor.

Skippy: I just feel your statement is a bit long. The first paragraph is stating the obvious and I would greatly reduce it. Every parent will agree with your sentiments but no one standing will think differently. Go more quickly into detail so parents actually read it.

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