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Calling all primary school parent governors....

(8 Posts)
Wordsmith Wed 19-Sep-07 18:18:41

DS1's school is looking for 2 new parent govs, I'm thinking of applying. What I want to know is
a) what's expected of you in terms of time commitment?
b) what responsibilities do you have?
c) do you actually get to change anything or are you just there to look good (to other parents I means, not literally --- I wish!)?
All info gratefully received!!

Wordsmith Wed 19-Sep-07 18:29:47

...anyone?? Or all you all at a Governors' meeting?

gingerninger Wed 19-Sep-07 18:43:11

I was a staff governor of my last school. We met monthly a little more often if there was something significant to go over (OFSTED) the meetings usually lasted 2-hr + and covered a variety of issues such as finance, school policies, new appointments etc. Went on various training day to help. Some of the other governors were encouraged to work in school and share a 'specialism' of their choice for eg art, cooking etc
We always had an agenda, before (so you could think things through) feedback was always requested from the parent governor with regards to other parents queries at the monthly meeting. This tended to be issues like head lice, uniform.
Do you know the chair of the governors? Perhaps they would be able to guide you through the process.
Hope it works out well. It does also look good on your CV grin

Twiglett Wed 19-Sep-07 18:50:11

a) a meeting once a month ranging from an hour to 3.5 hours, attending courses, work in between meetings dependent on what you take on, plus being on different committees, appeals panels and potentially acting as link governor for specific requirements (ie safeguarding, SN etc)

b) personally am a Link Governor, on 2 committees and 2 appeals panels

c) you get a say in within a bureaucratic committee meeting format, I don't know whether anything particularly gets changed. Its a fine and diplomatic line to tread because you shouldn't step on teaching strategy and head's role but still wish to contribute

as for other information - I really regret standing, wish I hadn't, 4 years term only served 1. I find it mind-numbing working with school, getting infomration, the paperwork and policies to ratify are endless. I was happier putting in finite hours with PTA and feeling appreciated. I don't feel appreciated, have felt resented for speaking out, occasionaly feel out of place and basically resent the time wasted listening to some people repeat what other people have said in an 18 strong committee... I also think the senior staff resent having to give up their evenings to meetings

Wordsmith Wed 19-Sep-07 21:17:30

That's really interesting Twiglett, esp your last para - that's my big worry - I've never worked in a bureaucratic organisation and don't 'do' bureaucracy very well. I would definitely speak out, that's my way (sometimes regret it! blush).

The reason I'd want to do it is I feel it's important for parents to have a voice in the way the school is run - I don't think the PTA affects the running of the school as such although of course it's hugely important, perhaps more so - but I just don't have the time to do the PTA thing (plus feel there is a lot of 'politics' there too). Given that, what I'm interested in knowing is if schools actually listen to parent governors and take ideas on board - the few occasions I have suggested things via feedback forms I have received responses which make me feel I am being a bit of a troublemaker for challenging the status quo.

(One suggestion was to get parents' email addresses/mobile numbers and text/email important info, as I was always missing out on letters because I wasn't often there to do school pick up. This was treated as though it was a very good request, but impossible to fulfil because of the time it would take to arrange - wtf??? - and I was to encourage DS1 to be more responsibe in ensuring he collected letters at the end of the day. ie it's not our fault, it's your dozy son.)

I'd like to feel that if I became a governor any issues I or other parents had would be considered with a little more thought - just interested to find out if that actually would be the case!

Twiglett Wed 19-Sep-07 22:04:04

nope

not in my experience so far

grin

you just feel like a loud-mouthed twat .. and if you suggest something, you need to be ready to put the work in to get it done

I'll give you an example, I used to work in Marketing for a long, long time .. school needed a prospectus .. its a legal requirement to have one ...(I got volunteered by chair to do it) ..could have got it done in 6 weeks tops BUT it took 8 months to get copy prised out of school staff with numerous chases .. then after working on everything provided by different staff to get it into some form of order, head decided it was a legal document and stripped out all the 'interesting' bits .. I passed it on to other people I was so farkin' hacked off with the whole process

roisin Wed 19-Sep-07 22:10:34

Dh has been a Governor for almost 5 years. At first he had little responsibility and influence; but now the HT trusts him and consults him on all sorts of matters, and delegates various responsibilities to him.

It is quite time-consuming though, as he is very hands-on, and spends time in school every week, as well as regular evening meetings.

He gets involved in work scrutinies, interviewing pupils about their work, shortlisting and interviewing candidates, leading assemblies, etc.

Seasider Sun 23-Sep-07 10:01:04

I have been a school gov now since DS started in reception 4 years ago. I find that yes, it is time-consuming, but very rewarding and have been able to take an active role in interviewing and recruiting staff, advising on redundancies and helping get the school its outstanding recent Ofsted report. i'm also a cohort gov, which means that I follow a year group thru the school which is a good way to learn as they do.
And i do work part time to and manage to fit it in and I'm not superwoman!!
All very interesting and worthwhile, I think a lot of it is down to the chair and the head. Go for it!

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