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Parent governor?

(11 Posts)
ElliesMad Mon 05-Oct-09 21:30:31

So we had the letter home last week, there is a position for a parent governor become vacant. Didn't think too much more about it until today. The home school mentor asked if I could pop in to see her. She asks if I'd considered it as it has been mentioned that 'people' think I'd be perfect. What people ask I?
Ah well I can't really say, replies she. Turns out I've been 'headhunted'. Her words not mine.
So what does it involve? I'd not really considered myslef as a candidate but have now asked myself why not? And also why? Oh and why not!!!!
All a bit do I? Don't I?
I'm on the EPPa group but that's all very new.
I am really interested in the school,kids in nursery and Year 2.
How much time does it involove?
Anybody already one that can help.
Many thanks if you've even read all of that!

emkana Mon 05-Oct-09 22:56:24

I am a parent governor, and I really enjoy it. In our school it involves six full governing body meetings per year, plus committee meetings. You should also do school visits and some training courses. I find it fascinating to see all that goes into running a school.

Hassled Mon 05-Oct-09 23:01:40

In our school - one full governing body meeting per half term, and then committee meetings - so at least two nights per half term. Then yes, training, visits etc. I would recommend it if you're interested in the school.

itsbeingsofearful Mon 05-Oct-09 23:07:58

I've been a parent gov since dd1 was in reception, she's now in yr11, but I stayed in primary as the other 2 moved up.

I echo emkana, it's great fun and if you're like me and want to know what's going on it can be eye-opening.

The only piece of advice: make sure you know how much time you can spare and stick to it. Don't let anyone railroad you into stuff, it can expand and take over your life if you're not careful


annh Mon 05-Oct-09 23:22:23

I agree with being strict with your time and sticking to it, but sometimes stuff comes along and with the best will in the world you just have to get stuck in. We have to recruit a new headteacher for next July so there are a number of extra meetings in connection with that and we will all also be involved with either showing candidates around the school or sitting on the interview panel. We are also short two Foundation Governors at the moment which means more work for those who are left. On top of that, we have an extra working group looking at building an extra classroom onto the school. Can you tell I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it at the moment?!

I think it's a great thing to do and you do find out a lot about the school and its workings and gain a great understanding of why some seemingly inexplicable/irritating/bureaucratic things have to be so. However, if you work, I think it is very dfficult to combine with a job - at least, in our school most of the meetings are at 4.30/5 in the evening and classroom visits, H&S inspections etc inevitably have to take place during the school day.

ElliesMad Tue 06-Oct-09 09:14:57

Thanks for that, it's really helpful. I do work, four evenings (from 7) a week. But apparently if you're on something like this they have to give you time off for meetings (albeit unpaid).
I am really interested in the school, and what the kids are up to whilst they are there.
I'm talking myself into this I think?!!!??

annh Tue 06-Oct-09 17:15:35

ElliesMad, who told you they have to give you time off work for this? I have never heard that before and I'm sure it's up to the discretion of your employer if they can consider doing so. It's considered good practice in a lot of companies to allow time off for these kind of "community" activities but as I was trying to explain to our HT when I was campaigning to move some of the meetings from 4.30 p.m., even apart from the current difficult economic situation where everyone is keeping their head down and getting on with work, most working parents are running a constant deficit with their employer of bits of time off to administer antibiotics at school, attend a class assembly, watch the book week parade etc so asking for even more time off is very difficult to swallow! But do let us know if you hear anything to the contrary. Anyway, if your school is like many, evening work will be easier to fit around your Governor obligations than if you work in the daytime.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Tue 06-Oct-09 17:23:28

Annh - I think you're right about time off for governor duties being discretionary. I have some (paid) and am very grateful for it. But I think you need to campaign hard to get meetings moved from 4.30pm - that must exclude a lot of people who would make excellent governors.

annh Tue 06-Oct-09 23:10:45

MadBad, indeed having meetings at 4.30p.m. excludes many people. Even people who are not working will have their children at that time and be rushing between activities or trying to do tea. Paying for a babysitter is one thing, asking them to drop ds1 at guitar and pick ds2 up from drama and then cook them all tea is a completely different thing. If more meetings were in the evening, it would not only enable people who work to attend but also stay-at-home parents whose partner works and who don't have access to/can't afford babysitters for daytime meetings - or at least can't afford the ones with cars and willingness to dish up tea. I think I might start a thread actually asking how other schools time their meetings. Our HT presents the meeting times as if they are fixed in stone around the teachers not being able to stay in the evening.

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Wed 07-Oct-09 12:48:59

Annh - I look forward to that thread!

FWIW, most of our meetings are at 6.30 or 7pm. That's a pinch for anyone who's rushing to get home from work (London, so lots of people commute) and for anyone (like me) who is waiting for a partner to get home and take over on the tea/bath/bedtime front. We have a similar thing with the meeting times being set around the HT's preference - they live quite a way from the school and it would be a late night for them if the meeting started and ended later. Frankly, I don't think that that is persuasive enough - the HT is just one amongst the governors and I think there are rather more governors (or potential future governors) who would gain from a later start.

Feenie Wed 07-Oct-09 12:52:20

Our LEA clerk told us that your employer has to let you have time off for governors' activities up to 3 times per year, but it may be unpaid. hmm

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