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Parent Governor Application

(24 Posts)
FreezerBird Thu 22-Jun-17 22:13:43

Does anyone fancy having a look at this draft personal statement thing for me?

I'm finding it difficult to work out who I'm writing it for - in all the time I've been involved with the school there's only been one occasion where there was more than one applicant for a parent governor vacancy so only one election where the statements were circulated. I'm assuming though that the personal statement bit goes to the head and current governors even if it's not circulated to parents?

It's a fab school, in a fairly deprived area, and they really struggle to get parents engaged - quite often I am one of just a couple of parents at PTA meetings - the PTA is primarily staff.

Some of the example statements I've read online read like high-powered job applications and that just doesn't really fit somehow.

Anyway - draft thus far is as follows (120 word limit)

"I currently have a daughter in year four, and my son is in year seven at secondary having previously been a pupil at [school].

[School] is a great school. I would like to play a part in maintaining and supporting the school by becoming a governor. I am interested in provision for pupils with SEN and their successful integration into the school.

I have lived in the area for five years and have several volunteer roles including at the foodbank based at [church]."

For background - the school has several learning support units on site and is also very successful about supporting children with SEN in the mainstream - my daughter is one of these. I feel like I need to have something about wanting to work for all the children not just those with SEN as otherwise it just seems like I'm banging that drum, which I'm not.

I haven't put anything in about professional background as a) it's not really relevant and b) I haven't worked since my son was born 12 years ago.

Quite frankly the whole thing is giving me flashbacks to UCAS...

alabasterangel Thu 22-Jun-17 22:22:56

It's passable. I'm a Governor. (You need to capitalise Governor as it's a job title).

I think you need to inject a bit more passion into it maybe? Words like 'great' and 'interested' are okay but don't grab me. Instead of saying the school is great, could you say you have great faith in it? That you are passionate about involving yourself into the workings of the school and feel you have x/y/z to contribute towards that?

When do you have to have it in by? I need to head up to bed because I've got an early start but I'm happy to help you elaborate on it tomorrow if you drop me a PM.

alabasterangel Thu 22-Jun-17 22:23:37

It is circulated to all parents to vote, by the way!

FATEdestiny Thu 22-Jun-17 22:42:26

Your personal statement will be circulated to all parents. I'm not grabbed by your personal statement to be honest. I find the most successful statements say things that parents want to hear about the school rather than about you.

Imagine you were a parent considering a new school for your child, what would you want to hear about the school? It depends on defining your personal focus. Maybe you are drawn towards words like

- Caring, helpful, empathetic, kind children
- independant, free-thinking, creative children
- hard working, resilient, children of strong character
- academic, high achieving, high expectations

It depends on the to be you seek. Then say something great about the children in your community. Everyone likes to read good things about the place they live, the people in the community and especially the children. What makes the chikdren in your community/school amazing?

Finally, use of the word "outstanding" somewhere in the statement is a useful nod to OFSTED.

What years your children are in is largely irrelevant to the voting group - if parents know you then they already know your children's ages. If they don't know you then year group is likely to make no difference to their decision to vote for you, or not.

*I would like to play a part in maintaining and supporting the school by becoming a governor*: as will everyone on the voting form. If they have bothered to put their name forward then they want that role. So this sentence is just pointless fodder (sorry, you did ask!)

FreezerBird Thu 22-Jun-17 22:47:24

All fair enough!

I could be wrong, but in the past I think when there's been only one applicant, the statements haven't been circulated as there's no election. Or is that not the way it should be done?

This is the second or third time of inviting applications for this vacancy as no-one has applied yet.

FreezerBird Thu 22-Jun-17 22:53:33

Also (sorry, I forgot this bit) I wondered about putting something in about volunteering at the food bank (which is based over the road from the school and is used by families from there) giving an insight into the challenges the area faces and wanting to work for the best possible outcomes for the children. But it feels quite patronising and not sure if it's appropriate, even if worded differently.

FATEdestiny Thu 22-Jun-17 22:54:27

If there are only 1 applicant for 1 post, there will be no election.

But the personal statements have to be submitted at the time of putting your name forward to be considered. So if you don't write one, or write a rubbish one, then you do not have the opportunity to add or amend the statement once it has been submitted.

So in my view it is worth putting in a bit of effort to write a good statement, because you cannot know if someone else (or a few others) are thinking the same.

SouthWestNorthSouth Thu 22-Jun-17 23:13:00

I would suggest your background may be of relevance if it would be of use to the school (law. finance, building/facilities/HR, communication etc etc). You may be 'rusty" so to speak but your previous experience will be what may differentiate you from another candidate.

This is what you need to be saying - why should parents vote for you and not someone else.

TyneTeas Thu 22-Jun-17 23:24:08

find out if there is a maximum/suggested word count

make it personable, but bring out your skills, knowledge and experience

a lot of schools have the personal statements for their parent governors on their websites. When writing mine, I searched online, read through some and thought about who I would have supported if I were choosing, then thought about what I did and didn't like about the different statements to structure mine

good luck!

Mumski45 Fri 23-Jun-17 07:17:59

I am a Governor at my sons primary. I would suggest that you put a bit more about your background and how your specific skills and experience would be useful to the governing body. E.g. If your background is in finance then you would be useful to the finance committee or if in HR then relevant for the staffing committee. It may not be a directly relevant as these 2 examples but I'm sure you could find something in your experiences that could be relevant.

RippleEffects Fri 23-Jun-17 07:24:19

As parent govenor you're their to represent the parents voice so need to be approachable to parents.

Adding a line I can be found outside year 4 class (yr 5 from September) at drop off/ collection time or a way you can be contacted might help.

RippleEffects Fri 23-Jun-17 07:25:58

Oh and spell check. Something I don't appear to be able to do, appauling use of their blush

Piglet208 Fri 23-Jun-17 07:27:19

As pp said you need more about your skills not just interests. Governors are now recruited based on skills. This changed a couple of years ago when the rules moved towards smaller governing bodies with a variety of skills. It sounds as though they will be glad to have you on board if there is a lack of volunteers but it will help the recruitment process if you sell yourself.

PseudoBadger Fri 23-Jun-17 07:28:37

No, you are a representative parent, not a parent representative.

Mumski45 Fri 23-Jun-17 07:36:59

Agree with Peusdobadger. A parent governor is not there to represent parents although this is a common misconception. You have no specific role to take parents concerns to the Board. If a parent has a concern it should be raised with the teachers and head teacher and only if not resolved appropriately should it be taken to the all governors via a written complaint.

If a parent tries to discuss an issue with you at the school gate this will preclude you from being independent concerning that issue and you would not be able to be involved in its resolution if a formal complaint is made.

birdsdestiny Fri 23-Jun-17 07:45:49

Agree with above that is absolutely not the role of a parent governor. I think you need to give more info about the skills and experience you can bring. I used the relevant experience gained in my career and voluntary work. Governing bodies need a broad range of skills, you need to show what you can bring to that mix.

FATEdestiny Fri 23-Jun-17 10:53:30

As parent govenor you're their to represent the parents voice so need to be approachable to parents

No, you are definitely not. And there is absolutely no need to be approachable. In fact I'd approached, the opposite is true.

A parent governor is not the place for other parents to raise concerns for the governing body. All sych concerns made personally to a governor should be deflected to the Chair of Governors.

Even when death with by the CoG, it is usually deflected elsewhere to be dealt with. The staff would deal with any concerns first, then the head teacher, sometimes in discussion with the Chair of Governors.

Complete misunderstanding of the strategic role of a governor to assume you will directly deal with any school "issues" that a parent may have.

FATEdestiny Fri 23-Jun-17 10:54:31

Typos galore confused
Sorry blush

admission Fri 23-Jun-17 11:41:36

120 words is hardly enough to give parents a good understanding of any candidate and does to some extent worry me about the expectations of the school and GB.
I would as parent want to know that you are a "stay at home mum" but also what you did do professionally previously. It actually is a skillset that is useful on the GB being a "stay at home mum".
You do need to be careful to ensure you divorce your role as "mum" from that of governor, especially around SEN given you say that daughter has some level of SEN. At times this distinction can be difficult and you need to be sure that you can keep them apart. So for instance how would you handle an SEN issue around your daughter without you seeming to have your governor hat on.

BubblesBuddy Fri 23-Jun-17 11:58:20

As a former trainer of Governors, I hope the following is useful.

All Governors must show they have relevant skills but electioneering is different, slightly! In many ways the food bank is irrelevant and I wouldn't mention it. I assume you were seeking the 'she's a good egg' vote! I would mention what you do for the school community and that you wish to be part of the school to maintain the high standards that the school has.

Where do your skills lie? If it is SEN, what skills? Are you skilled in HR, Finance or Marketing for example? How will your skills benefit the school and the children? If you have strong community links, this is good, but how will the children benefit? Parent Governors often say they have children at the school or who have gone through the school to prove they know the school well.

Say that you will give a lot of time to the role, undertake training, understand that you work with others for the benefit of the children and you are committed to all children doing well at the school. Don't just pidgeonhole yourself to SEN. You could show an interest in pp children and their progress for example.

Lastly, do make sure that you understand what a Governor does. You are not a fluffy supporter who brings in cakes and hears children read. You must know the strengths and weaknesses of the school, monitor the improvement plan, evaluate the effectiveness of the GB, understand progress data and benchmarking, make tough decisions on staffing, finance and pay and be strategic. You are not involved in everyday management. Ideally you need skills and knowledge of the school and demonstrate these to the parents. Hope this helps.

BubblesBuddy Fri 23-Jun-17 12:22:34

It is also ok to have a chat with the Chairman to talk about the role before you apply. You can then judge if your skills would be a good fit.

RippleEffects Fri 23-Jun-17 12:54:20

Live and learn, i retract the above be contactable advice!

FreezerBird Mon 03-Jul-17 13:40:31

Hi all, thanks for your input, and sorry I disappeared! Had to get form in quick, and was then away for a few days.

Anyway, I've had an email from the LA to welcome me to the Governing Body so I guess I was the only applicant. Now immersing myself in their online induction material.

BubblesBuddy Mon 03-Jul-17 18:12:41

Well done Freezer! Do take up the offer of training and if there is anything you need to know, do ask. It can be daunting at first but when you get into your stride, very rewarding. Good luck.

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