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Do I want to be a parent governor?

(17 Posts)
thruppence Tue 11-Oct-11 22:58:18

There are 2 vacancies at our school and I was thinking of applying.

However I don't really have any idea what's involved or whether I would be any good at it. Do these very facts mean that I wouldn't be?

There are a lot of ex-teachers who are parents at my school and I imagine a lot of them will apply so I don't really think I would stand a chance anyway.

angelpantser Tue 11-Oct-11 23:14:13

Please do apply. If you care enough to even consider becoming a governor then you should give it a whirl. I have been involved with Governing Bodies at a number of schools for more than ten years. In my experience there is an issue with trying to get people to become school governors. Too many people think that they are not the right sort of person or that there is always someone better qualified and as a result there are many places left unfilled. Good training is available and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that the rest of the parents think that you ARE up to the job.

On the Governing Bodies that I have sat on the new governors have generally taken a watching brief for the first year - with a mentor to guide them so that they do have involvement. It can be daunting to discover the level of accountability that the governing body has but there are nearly always more experienced governors that are willing to pass on their knowledge and ease the transition from enthusiastic newbie to confident governor.

Go for it. smile

RaspberryLemonPavlova Tue 11-Oct-11 23:29:25

Yes, please apply. I've been involved for 7 years and really enjoy it.

You should be able to talk to your headteacher about its and get an idea if other people are applying.

ASuitableGirl Tue 11-Oct-11 23:50:39

I tried applying but for what appeared to be the first time ever, there was more than one person applying and I lost sad

Might try again one day though.

IndigoBell Wed 12-Oct-11 06:20:42

Go for it.

GladbagsAndYourHandrags Wed 12-Oct-11 13:03:49

I did it for a year and packed it in. Far too much responsibility, paperwork and new jargon. I think its a lot easier for those from an educational background but it really was far too time consuming for me to be able to do it properly. Sorry to be the voice of doom but the Chair of Governors really sold it to me without pointing out the massive responsibilities and the time involved.

Smallstuff Wed 12-Oct-11 14:25:33

I am a governor at my DCs school and have been doing it for a year. It is very rewarding but be sure you have the time to commit to it. It is essential to attend all meetings ( we have 6 full GB meetings plus a further six for a sub committee which is pretty usual).
How much other work is involved depends on the quality of the Chair and how well the school is doing.
During last year it was OK time wise although following some excellent LA training I had reservations about how the GB operated.
Then we were inspected and the GB did not come out too well. So since the summer it has been full on and I have had to commit a lot of time BUT it is rewarding to see the changes and improvements.
The most frustrating thing is having governors who don't show up or read the paperwork ahead of meetings which wastes everyone's time! I would agree that you can coast for the first year but in my case after 9 months I had to up my game!!!

bluegiraffe Wed 12-Oct-11 20:57:09

my DH just became a Parent Governer at DD's school - he was reluctant at first (and missed the first deadline) as the job description stated it was a 4-year term and DD will only be there for 3 years as it's an Infant School and then we might move away or who knows what ... but the HeadMistress assured him this would be 'flexible' and as no others applied for the 2 vacancies first time round I pushed him (as did the Head and the School Sec and some of the other new parents!!) to apply and he and another new parent got the jobs.

He's at his first meeting tonight infact! - I had a nosey at the paperwork they gave him (2 envelopes full!) earlier this week and found it really interesting myself, I think i'll be his PG secretary :-)

Go for it!

twentyten Wed 12-Oct-11 21:10:45

Go for it! I was a gov and chair. Really interesting and I learnt a lot. Be clear about boundaries but you can gain a lot. Good luck!

mrsshopalot Wed 12-Oct-11 22:31:23

I say go for it - I have just been appointed this week confused and had very similar thoughts to you prior to putting my application in. There were 3 vacancies and 7 applicants so secret ballot my immense surprise I not only got one of the places but got the most votes!
I'm not from an educational background, but have years of experience in the NHS and am really looking forward to the next fours years and learning new skills
(ask me again in year and it may be different don't think so tho!)

DanFmDorking Thu 13-Oct-11 00:00:45

I enjoy it and I've learnt a lot. I like being involved with the school and making a contribution - watching and learning how others deal with and solve problems. I have gained in self confidence and speaking up in meetings.

You must think of the meeting as mandatory and sometimes one can get involved with sacking/redundancies and discipline matters.

I've posted this before and er, here it is again:-

Being a Governor varies slightly from school to school. The main thing is ‘time and commitment’. You should think of the Governor meetings as meetings that you must attend and arrange your social/work life around them. You should attend the training sessions that your Local Authority provides.

School Governors are the biggest volunteer organisation in the UK. We estimate that it takes up about 35hrs per year although, of course, it depends on how involved you want to be.

Governors deal with Budgets, Policies, Targets and things which are 'a step away' from the 'day to day' running of the school.
Any question like 'My child doesn't ... isn't ... can't ...' is not for a Governors meeting.

School Governors do not run the school; they are there to take an overview and see that it delivers.

Some useful sites: ukgovernors and Governor Line and Being a school Governor

I’m sure you can Google ‘being a school governor’ yourself but:-

The Role of a School Governor

1 To Provide a Strategic View
2 To Act as a “Critical Friend”
3 To Ensure Accountability

Good Luck

floozietoozie Thu 13-Oct-11 11:46:21

Ok, I'm thinking exactly the same thing as thruppence. The main thing that's putting me off is having to come up with 50 words about myself in the event of an election. You don't have to, but it seems a bit silly not to. So what would/did you put (roughly) if you had to do the same thing? Do people want to know what you do, experience etc eg I'm floozietoozie, mother of one reception age child and a one-year-old who will attend in four years time, I work as XXX and I ahve experience s a local representative for XX (child-related) charity in my city. Or do they want - I believe I'm the right person because (can't think of many good reasons...). Also, my son has a disability - should I mention this as a reason for wanting to be more involved with the school or does that make me look like I'm just trying to ensure the best for him and bugger the rest? And all in 50 words of course grin. You'd never believe writing is the main part of my job, but I can only do it easily when it's not about me.

ASuitableGirl Thu 13-Oct-11 23:03:48

Hmm, school has sent out an email saying that there is a vacancy for a parent governor - do I set myself up for the embarrassment of coming third out of three again?

Rachaeltall Fri 14-Oct-11 13:13:02

Ladies, I'd say go for it. Like everything else in life it is what you make of it! I've been a Governor for just a year, and it's great, albeit very daunting to start with. The other Govs have been very supportive, there are lots of training courses (some compulsory like child protection) and support from LEA if you need it.
Floozie, I was honest on my app - single mom to child in reception, told them my job and the fact that I'm studying part time, and gave my reasons for wanting to be involved.

Good luck xx

BusterGut Fri 14-Oct-11 19:34:19

Danfm makes lots of good points. School governance is not like belonging to a PTA, and you will often not see anything 'happening', like you do in a PTA (school fair, charity bounce, etc). Governing bodies are not fundraisers! Lots of our governors have left because they can't see the point of it! You have to understand the bigger picture - where the school is going, school initiatives, what the school needs to improve, etc.

I have to say that we have had parent governors who have been on their own agenda to find out what is happening in their children's year groups. They either left, or accepted that a governor's responsibility was to the WHOLE school, not just their child's year group!

ASuitableGirl Fri 14-Oct-11 19:38:56

Knowing that school governance is not like the PTA encourages me to think about applying again smile And I know all I need to know about my children's year groups - my children are in them.

mrsshopalot Fri 14-Oct-11 22:28:58

floozietoozie we only had 50 words as well and it's not much! if you want to Pm me I'm happy to give you an idea of what all the candidates wrote - I think if there's a sniff of an election it's the only thing the parents who don't know you have to differentiate between candidates biscuit

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