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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

School Governers

(9 Posts)
salondon Thu 27-Nov-14 10:14:06

Do you guys know your child/ren's school governors? Do you speak to them ever/regularly?

Anyone here on the governing body?

iloveithere Thu 27-Nov-14 11:59:54

I have been a school governor for quite a few years. Is there a specific question you need answered?

salondon Thu 27-Nov-14 13:42:37

How does one get on the body?

Might as well improve the school's SENsmile

iloveithere Thu 27-Nov-14 13:57:16

there are 2 ways, an old way and a new way.

The old way was when a vacancy came up for a parent governor role it should be advertised on the newsletter/website etc and anyone interested can put themselves forward. If more than one person wanted the post, there would be an election among all the parents of the school.

However, all governing bodies have to go through a process of re-constitution. Depending on where you live this may or may not have happened yet in your area and school.

In the new process, governing bodies can invite who they want onto them. They have to do a skills audit, and decide what skills they need, then can invite people who have those skills. There will still be a specific number of parents/community /staff governors, but this number will be much smaller. The government thinks that by making the governing bodies smaller but more skilled it will improve the outcomes for the children.

There must be a governor with responsibility of SN, you can ask at the school office who yours is, and they can talk to you about what the school is doing, or address any broad concerns you have.

But they won't know anything about your child personally, confidentiality will stop the staff talking about individual children.
Governors have responsibility for the strategic direction of the school, not the every day detail.

I hope that help, please ask if you need to know more.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 27-Nov-14 15:12:32

As a Governor you need to hold the HT to account by the standards set before him/her by the system. You cannot get involved in the operations of the school (though you can sometimes ask questions about them if there is a direct link to progress that a certain cohort of children are making).

You cannot expect them to go beyond the system within which they exist (though you can encourage them to consider doing so) and your role is to consider all strategic decisions in terms of the benefit and outcomes for the children at the school as a whole, but taking into account the individuals iyswim. Complicated.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 27-Nov-14 15:14:40

For example, it would be very difficult to challenge what you would consider shite SEN provision if Ofsted has rated them outstanding with no improvements to make in that area. However, if it has been a while since Ofsted you can challenge on the basis of what Ofsted might look for, for safeguarding and for progress, and you can ask for clarification for why they have spent the SEN budget on a new library.

salondon Thu 27-Nov-14 16:15:47

Good to know.. Was trying to understand how one works as a parent to influence policies if at all

uggerthebugger Thu 27-Nov-14 17:45:29

It's hard to influence individual school SEN policies as a parent without institutional backup of one sort or another. How hard it is varies from school to school, and governing body to governing body.

I was a governor for a a few years. One of the most frustrating things I found - particularly on SEN issues - was the strategic impotence.

Addressing the workaday problems with implementing SEN provision (like poor-quality IEPs) - are well beyond the scope of what a governor is supposed to do. But a lot of stuff I considered to be strategic - prioritisation of SEN issues, poor allocation of resources, inadequate staff training, over-reliance on unproven woo interventions - was classed as 'operational' and therefore out of bounds.

On the other hand, rubber-stamping vague, catch-all policy documents offering no meaningful strategic direction of any sort? Yep, these were 'strategic.'

Like star said above, as a governor you can ask why the school has chosen to spunk its entire SEN budget on a library / mock-Ofsted inspection / set of 6 Thinking Hats. But at my school's GB, there was no expectation that this 'challenge' would result in a change in outcome, or even that it should.

I'd hope that it's different at other schools - but I wouldn't be sure, particularly for those schools that are dementedly focused on changing their Ofsted category. In the end, I stopped being a governor because I had major problems with what the school was prepared to do to get out of its category (another story, not a pretty one).

If you're looking to change the policies that are being implemented on or for your child, you might be better off starting at the frontline and working upwards. There are classroom teachers and TAs out there who haven't been completely beaten down by the system yet...

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 27-Nov-14 18:00:46

Yes. I agree with ugger. Asking the HT if you can start up a SEN coffee morning in school to support each other and offer school feedback into the systems, might be the first step. Then organise one outside of school if/when the HT refuses etc. might be a better strategy. You're not bound by anything then.

I can find it hard as a Governor as I feel unable to tell parents at the school directly that the school is talking bollox to them when they report some, well, bollox. I usually tell them that it sounds a reasonable question and to ask/phone IPSEA about it. If I wasn't Governor, I'd invite them round for wine and draft their letters.

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