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Primary school governor - what will happen if I am the only one who objects?

(13 Posts)
MurielsBottom Tue 09-Jan-18 20:58:57

Without saying too much the Primary school governing body which I sit on are having an extra meeting to vote on a future pathway for the school.
At the moment I don't feel I can agree to the proposal because I don't feel we have (as a GB) explored any/enough other options.

The meeting is next week. Would it be a good idea to discuss with the chair before the meeting if I can? What will happen if I am the only one who objects? I assume I will have to give and defend my reasons for voting the way I did? Any advice would be welcome.

OP’s posts: |
sallythesheep73 Tue 09-Jan-18 21:51:50

We had a GB meeting where a critical decision was sprung on us and raised and voted on at the meeting with no advance warning. I abstained at the vote as I didn't feel we'd had sufficient time or notice to consider the vote. Hope this helps

MurielsBottom Tue 09-Jan-18 21:54:57

Thank you for replying. I am feeling a little intimidated as I am fairly sure all the staff governors want to proceed. I am not usually one for rocking the boat and I wondered how much I would be "grilled" if I vote against the proposal.

OP’s posts: |
TyneTeas Tue 09-Jan-18 21:58:19

In addition to speaking to the Chair (may be useful for them to know in advance that you will be raising questions as a courtesy for timing), are you able to arrange a meeting/ call with a member of SLT to find out more information about the plans, risks, any options appraisal, SWOT analysis etc

ReallyExhaustedLlama Tue 09-Jan-18 22:08:53

You need to raise your concerns before you vote so that others can consider your points when they vote. The vote should be at the end of a discussion about the issue.

I would definitely raise your concerns with the Chair and SLT in advance.

ReallyExhaustedLlama Tue 09-Jan-18 22:11:00

If this is about academisation there is a whole consultation the school should go through before any final decisions are reached.

lougle Tue 09-Jan-18 22:11:41

How many people are on your GB and how many are staff? There should only be one staff governor, the HT and the total number of co-opted give, the staff gov and HT, added together shouldn't exceed ⅓ of your GB. So that means that ⅔ of your GB are non-staff, at least.

Didiusfalco Tue 09-Jan-18 22:19:41

I’m guessing you’re voting on joining a MAT or similar? There should be a vote, which could well be private/anonymous. You can voice your concerns in the discussion that should happen before the vote but you don’t have to justify your decision at all. If you’re the only one who objects it won’t make any difference to the outcome. If you’re not comfortable it would be completely reasonable to suggest an anonymous vote.
Don’t worry about rocking the boat- schools need questioning Governors, in fact Ofsted look out for signs of Governors challenging the school so it’s a good thing. You don’t need to raise concerns with the chair in advance, but if you require additional information or documents it might be a good idea to ask for this before the meeting.

admission Tue 09-Jan-18 22:25:18

Firstly yes you should inform the Chair that you have concerns about the proposal as they do not seem to have explored other options.
Secondly, I would not assume that you will be on your own in having concerns about the direction of travel. It is vital that you do raise the concerns at the meeting so that it allows all the other members of the GB to make their feelings known.
As a Chair I would be worried by your comments that all the staff on the GB seem to be in favour therefore it will be voted through. There certainly should not be a majority of staff governors on the GB, so if there are a lot of staff attending meetings I think that you should be asking that this discussion takes place as a part 2 confidential discussion and that only staff that are formally on the GB are present for the discussion and the decision. If it is an important decision and I suspect I know what you are discussing then it should also be a secret ballot. It is sometimes the case that more will vote against or abstain if it is a secret ballot than if it is a show of hands.
The other thing that I would suggest is that if it seems that there are more than just you who have concerns that you propose that no decision be put to a vote until further discussions /reviews take place. It would be totally wrong that a vote is taken if there is still considerable disagreement over the proposal.As a Chair I would hope and expect that in a similar situation I would make just that proposal.
If you are the only one against when it comes to a vote then you are bound by the rules of confidentiality not to discuss it further outside of the FGB meeting. You have a decision to make, can you live with the decision made or not. If not then you should resign from the GB.
If you feel that I can be of any further help please do not hesitate to contact me privately.

Didiusfalco Tue 09-Jan-18 22:38:08

admission why do you think she should inform the chair in advance? That’s not very transparent and then won’t be recorded anywhere.

MurielsBottom Wed 10-Jan-18 15:56:56

Thank you for all your responses.

I have had a meeting today with the chair and voiced my concerns and now feel more confident about the meeting.

Just to clarify - the GB is perfectly legal in terms of it's staff governors. The issue is there are three associate staff GB members and co-opted staff governor. So we are in effect out numbered although the associate members don't vote.

Thank you admission - I have requested the ballot is either private or secret and the chair and vice chair agree with me although the initial discussion will involve all people. I really appreciated your post and it was very helpful.

OP’s posts: |
TooDamnSarky Wed 10-Jan-18 16:00:01

key is to make sure that there is enough time for full discussion and that minutes reflect issues rasied on both sides and that there is a record that it was not a unanimous decision.

BubblesBuddy Wed 10-Jan-18 16:10:57

Who thought all those associate staff governors and a further co-opted staff Governor (in addition to the standard staff governor?) was a good idea? A bit late now, but that should have been challenged because it skews debate at meetings and is not in the spirit of the constitution of the GB.

It is good manners to raise concerns with the Chairman before a meeting so it is not sprung on the Chairman at the meeting. Ideally there should be a working group formed to look at contentious issues which bring forward pros and cons of the proposal to the full GB or to a Committee if appropriate.

Any Governor can meet the Chairman and Heads meet Chairmen all the time without minutes being taken. No decisions should be taken at such meetings but any discussions of note, usually on policy direction with the Head, should be reported by the Chairman to the Governors so that everyone is in the loop.

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