School governors - is your governing body run by a little clique?

(48 Posts)
dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 11:25:35

Hello have changed name for this, if you work it out PLEASE don't mention my usual one.

Am v. pissed off. I tried to challenge something that was very badly handled but everyone else just sat there and let the two or three people who think they run everything off the hook. (Don't want to say exactly what in order to stay anon.) What IS the point of bothering? And does anyone have any experience of challenging poor practice they'd like to share?

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MathsMadMummy Thu 01-Jul-10 11:29:43

aaaaaargh for you - dreading this, should it be an issue in the future as I'd love to be a parent governor and I'm not a cliquey person.

had a similar thing when I joined the college council, everyone who wasn't the loudmouth idiots 'in group' was ignored

civil Thu 01-Jul-10 11:49:40

I am on our governing body. It consists of a lot of very opinionated people from completely different background.

So, not cliquey, but definitely load.

dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 11:56:14

Thanks. Mathsmad, don't want to put you off! Hopefully yours will be different. Am just feeling bitter at the moment...

Civil, that sounds tricky!

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RiverOfSleep Thu 01-Jul-10 11:58:24

I'm a parent governor. So far not cliquey - everyone just seems to nod and agree with whatever is reported/proposed.

seeker Thu 01-Jul-10 12:01:15

If by clique you mean the few people who can be arsed to turn up and who are prepared to do some work, then yes!

iloverainbows Thu 01-Jul-10 12:10:44

Do you mean that no-one will stand up and say if they really disagree with something or will challenge the 'powers' in a discussion? Then I believe generally you are correct. I am not a governor and would never be selected to be one as I am too outspoken. I had a problem at school and it was very badly handled, it could have been a very serious incident indeed and it could happen to other children, however they simply refused to acknowlegdge anything was wrong. They will protect their own, you can depend on it. However this seems to be the norm these days. I don't deny that it is a lot of work being a governor and people are giving up their time however I do sometimes wonder what peoples motivation is when all they do is say 'yes' to everything.


dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 12:14:59

Heavens, this namechanging thing is tiring!

Seeker, no, I'm one of the people who always turns up and takes on lots of work. Am frustrated though and wondering what is the point - I've got enough worrying stressful stuff going on in the rest of my life without putting up with this arrogance and being excluded from information and decision making. Despite statutory regulations and terms of reference making it clear they can't just huddle in their corner and run things they way they want without reference to anyone else. <bitter>

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dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 12:16:23

I love - I tried to stand up and say something was wrong and had been very badly handled. Everyone else, even those who had agreed before the meeting, sat there and let the bossy woman steamroller things. Feel like resigning. Stuff 'em.

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BeerTricksPotter Thu 01-Jul-10 13:13:21

Message withdrawn

hellothere01 Thu 01-Jul-10 14:59:26

Our parent governor is a parent my DS’s class. I introduced my self to him when I first joined not knowing his 'position'and he told me that he was a parent governor and then said that he did not agree with the school’s admissions policy. Since that day he has never spoken to me again (he even ignores and walks passed me if I say hello) was he trying to say something about my chid being in the school, maybe? i am not very sure.

His wife is very pleasant but she always appears to be eaves dropping on conversations, presumably to tell her governor husband the latest gossip. All very strange.

Sad to see that someone who is supposed to be representing the views of the parents is so up his own a**e

Elibean Thu 01-Jul-10 15:54:59

dutch, sounds v sad and v v frustrating. I'm not a governor, but I'm friends with two of the parent govs at dd's schol (I think there are 4 in total, not sure what their titles are but they are parents and govs, iyswim). And as some are leaving, dh and I have been asked whether one of us would put our names forwards - hence my interest in all threads governor-related!

I don't get the impression that there is a clique as such in our school governing body, though there are one or two tricky characters, and one or two that people are reluctant to upset (mostly because they've been figureheads for so long, sort of revered). Its all about to change, because 7 are going/moving away/retiring etc. But on the whole, it seems their meetings are friendly and inclusive.

I would agree with Beer, maybe stay and try and change things from within - or more realistically, maybe, stay and be ready to act when times change (as they always do) and someone else is ready to back you up??

dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 16:03:03

Thanks guys. Elibean, it's definitely worth giving it a go. Governors have a really important role to play especially given the public spending cuts about to come...

Hellothere, that's appalling. Exactly what being a governor is NOT about. FGS. What a twonk that man is!

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hellothere01 Thu 01-Jul-10 17:25:16

Dutchtown i say stick at it. i have been in meetings just like this out of school context but just think what would happen if you were not there speking up for obviously others are too scared to do.

we need more in the world like you. do not be bullied out!!!

Musicteachingmum Thu 01-Jul-10 18:14:18

I am a school governor. Have just been elected to my second 4 year term as a parent governor.

We are definitely not cliquey, but it could sometimes be seen like that from outside, or by someone new. Basically, those who work the hardest, are the most involved, and will therefore be the most involved in decision making and knowing the outcomes.

I have sometimes wondered why some people stand as parent governors, sometimes I have assumed they have their own agenda, but those that do don't last long as it really is hard work! The rest of us can't afford to have our own agendas as we know the bigger picture of how much finance is available and how much work actually needs doing.

dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 18:20:22

Music - I think you misunderstand me. I've been a governor for a year. And I've worked very hard. What pisses me off are the little cabal who think they can go off and take decisions on behalf of the GB without communicating with the rest of the GB or following procedures and refuse to answer perfectly reasonable questions. That is simply not on at all and actually makes those decisions invalid. Am sore because I pointed this out but no-one gave a toss.

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BeerTricksPotter Thu 01-Jul-10 19:23:54

Message withdrawn

Elibean Thu 01-Jul-10 20:19:27

I will, dutch, or dh will! I just need to get clear about time/energy committment levels, because I seem to spend half my life at the school as it is (pta, reading with kids, etc). I do love the school though, and it seems a good way to help support it.

Good luck holding firm with your GB.

IndigoBell Thu 01-Jul-10 21:17:30

Dutch I just resigned as parent governer - due to very similair things to you descibe. (Not invited to meetings etc.)

You can complain to the LEA. If you are complaining about the governers there is a one person to complain to, or alternatively if you are complaining about the school there is another.

A number of us governers complained to the LEA about the governers, and they came in and made some noise....

Anyway, in the end I decided it wasn't worth the stress. My life has enough stress. I'd rather spend my time doing something that might help.

bigstripeytiger Thu 01-Jul-10 21:26:51

At my DDs school (Scotland, so not diectly comparable to English situation) the Parent council (the Governing body equivalent) is not a clique, and is, as seeker said, composed of the few who are willing to turn up to meetings.
Anyone keen would be welcome!

dutchtown Thu 01-Jul-10 22:00:46

Maybe I should move schools, bigstripeytiger!

Beertricks (great name, btw), I did seek advice from that source, as did someone else. So we know we are right! Which makes it all the more frustrating.

Indigo, sorry to hear that. Am reluctant to go to LEA as Ofsted are due at any time (and they look at the GB). But I'm thinking along the same lines re. stress. I have other, important things to do with my time.

Elibean, good luck!

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maggotts Thu 01-Jul-10 23:39:36

I was a parent governor and actually Chair of Governors. It wasn't a clique BUT no one (but no one!) ever disagreed with anything the head or staff governors said. Governing Body was basically there just to do the legwork for boring policies and to rubber stamp what the head wanted.

Spent 5 years trying but ultimately couldn't change a thing so am now no longer anything. (Indeed situation was such that DD2 has since left the school.)

Malaleuca Fri 02-Jul-10 05:09:43

I've been a school governor and found that it is very easy for those with greater knowledge to lead the way. The solution to that was to become more informed of the processes and procedures and make sure they were adhered and used effectively.

Are you saying that the correct procedures have not been followed and an injustice done?

Is it possible to raise the matter at the next meeting, in the meanwhile gathering your information and your own support for your pov?

Is it a serious matter you feel that has been swept under the carpet, or something where there is honest disagreement?

BeerTricksPotter Fri 02-Jul-10 10:52:33

Message withdrawn

HarijukuLover Fri 02-Jul-10 10:57:03

Our school governors are ineffectual and definitely very cliquey. Seems to be the way it goes.

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