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Are you , or have you been a school Governer ? Am interested in becoming one .

(18 Posts)
CaptainUnderpants Fri 11-Jul-08 17:01:44

DS1 moves to Junior school in September and they will be looking for Parent Governers for YR3 .

The school is an 'improving ' school but I feel along with alot of other parents moving up that it has alot of potential.

Have been pondering about putting myself forward as a Governer but would like to hear from you what it is like , how much time it consumed and what previous experince , if any , did you have for this kind of role .

Thank you .

feedmenow Fri 11-Jul-08 19:16:21

It can be VERY time consuming, but it does depend how much you chose to be involved, IYSWIM!

We have one full committee meeting each term, plus you also have to have sub-committe meetings which are also mostly one every term. Then, depending on what you volunteer to do, you may find that you are needed for additional meetings and that you need to do various bits of work from home.

If you work, either full or part time, it can be something of a juggling act. If you have another child(ren) at home still, I imagine it could be tricky.

But on the other hand, it is great to have that extra involvement, to know where the school is coming from and where it is going.

FluffyMummy123 Fri 11-Jul-08 19:17:28

Message withdrawn

CaptainUnderpants Sat 12-Jul-08 13:54:26

Thanks , I work part time and both DS are at school . Will see how I feel about it in September.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

roisin Sat 12-Jul-08 13:57:11

When dh started as a governor he didn't do a lot. Govs meetings 3-4 times a year, plus two committees 3-4 times a year each, then maybe 2-3 days in school (total) each half term).

Now he is Chair of Govs and spends at least one full day in school every week.

Hassled Sat 12-Jul-08 14:01:40

I'd really recommend it - have been a parent governor for 3 and a half years. There are some governors who show up for the meetings and that's about it - others do a lot more. For example, I'm the Inclusion Governor, so meet with the SENCO quite regularly and keep an interest in Looked After Children, Equal Opps etc. There is a lot of training available - in this county at least (Norfolk) it's of a very high quality and I've learnt a lot. It is a commitment - you can't really coast because when OfSted come along they'll want to talk to Governors and you have to know what's going on, but once you get past the jargon and acronyms that's not a problem.

morocco Sat 12-Jul-08 14:26:12

I hardly do anything, meetings once a term plus flagging up some issues every now and then. I expect as I find my feet I might get more involved. we didn't have much interest from parents in standing tbh which is why I thought I'd give it a go. I'm not sure I'd have stood if there was a lot of interest from others

mamablue Sat 12-Jul-08 15:08:24

I have been a governor for several years and really enjoy it. I enjoy being involved in decision making but it does require diplomacy and discretion when talking to other parents. Sometimes, your views as a governor are at odds with your views as a parent. Can you talk to another parent governor at the school, I found this helpful when deciding if I should apply.

singersgirl Sat 12-Jul-08 15:21:08

I've been one for about 18 months and didn't have much to do initially. I've been a lot more active this term on my committees and spent 2 days in school this half-term working with the deputy head on something. We have 2 full governors' meetings a term (always at night) and each committee meets twice a term as well. In my case that's at a minimum 18 meetings across the year.

SqueakyPop Sat 12-Jul-08 15:26:29

I have been a governor and I enjoyed it. It is a way to serve that is quite serious and doesn't require a permanent happy face and lots of arm-twisting/bribery/begging.

I didn't find it particularly time-consuming - I attended the full governors' meetings and subcmmittee meetings, which probably amounted to two afternoons per term or half-term (can't remember now). My job was to give my opinion and ask questions. I didn't have to do any homework.

I enjoyed knowing what was going on, and the big perk was front row seats at all the productions. There were also opportunities to go on school trips, but I had a little one at home, so was off the hook.

If you are interested, it is definitely a worthwhile thing to do.

ByTheSea Sat 12-Jul-08 17:35:40

My experience has been similar to SqueakyPop. I go to full governor's meeting once a term and serve on two sub-committees which also each meet once a term. I also try to do one or two governor visits each year, which includes observing classes or whatever I'm interested in and then doing a short write-up after. I enjoy it and have learned a lot.

llareggub Sat 12-Jul-08 18:06:28

I've just had my first meeting as a governor, so obviously I can't tell you much about anything.

What I have got lined up is a period of training. I have to do an induction course lasting 2 hours or so, then an intensive 2 day foundation course introducing the role of the governor, financial management, that sort of thing. I've also got a specific, 4 hour course on the finance side of things because I will be serving on the finance sub-committee.

My first meeting was very interesting. I observed some fairly intense dynamics between the head and some of the longer serving governors. The chair and two of the governors seemed to be playing out some sort of power display which was fascinating to watch. I must admit to feeling there is a huge learning curve.

I've booked a meeting with the head to find out more about the school, what the head wants out of the governors and just to get to know each other more. It was interesting to note that the school cannot become a "good" or "outstanding" school without the governing body being rated as good by Ofsted. I'm not sure what I thought of the governing body, obviously far too early for me to tell.

Still, it was weird being back in a school hall sitting on those small chairs. I also thought it funny that the teachers call each other Mr and Mrs, not their first names, yet call the governors by their first names.

I enjoyed my first meeting and am really keen to get going next term. There is a governornet website which is full of information and guidance, I've found it to be very useful.

CaptainUnderpants Sun 13-Jul-08 09:32:54

Very interesting what you say about OFSTED rating the Governing body and how that reflects on the school rating . Shall look into that a bit more .

Twiglett Sun 13-Jul-08 09:38:30

I'd look at your existing Governing Body and Headteacher very carefully before volunteering

Ours has a chair who it basically feels like she runs everything and decides everything .. has very close relationship with current Head .. the focus is on bureaucracy and not getting involved in any of the operational detail which takes all the interesting stuff off the table.

The SMT also don't want any involvement from parents it seems.

So we are left considering policy and rubber-stamping decisions in long interminably bureaucratic meetings. Any suggestions in the field I have experience in (communication/ marketing) are met with such lack of interest that I have given up.

We are having a change of head though so things might change.

Still only 2 years to go

llareggub Sun 13-Jul-08 10:08:40

Obviously that thing about the school only becoming good or outstanding if the governing body are good or outstanding came from the Head.

I know what you mean about bureaucracy and rubber-stamping. I have a sneaky suspicion that mine might be the same.

NigellaTheOriginal Sun 13-Jul-08 10:12:39

I was but it bored me so i quit.

singersgirl Sun 13-Jul-08 10:30:37

We are lucky I think in that ours is an incredibly active governing body and the SMT (though there are of course some power-type standoffs occasionally) are very open to suggestions - even if they don't seem to be.

Since I've been governor just on the site and resources side we've; bid for and got a large capital sum for the rebuilding of our reception block, now nearly complete; refurbished the playground on one side of the school and installed a Trim Trail; created a separate outdoor classroom for Year 1; acquired a new demountable for Music.

Personally, as a marketing/writing type person, I've helped rewrite policies, the prospectus and the school profile, and have just rewritten the script for and been involved in the production of a new school DVD (to show to prospective parents.)

Via the curriculum committee, I've been involved in encouraging a new look at provision for very able pupils, lesson observations and recently had input into report format. Curriculum is a difficult committee for a non-professional as ultimately you don't have the pedagogic experience, but it is fascinating for me and we are invited to attend staff training.

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