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parent governors - what time are your meetings? because I am fed up...

53 replies

geekgirl · 09/10/2007 07:43

with our school's 4pm meetings

why why why do they have to meet at 4?
It's just about the crappiest time for having to find a babysitter.

I've spent a fortune on babysitting since becoming a governor 2 years ago - if dh was to come home that early he'd have to take half the day off (and lose £££ in earnings as he's a contractor).

Other schools nearby do their governors' meetings either during the school day (not possible with ours) or in the evening. Even 6pm would be fab.

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Tommy · 09/10/2007 14:42

also - how are they ever going to get more govs (especially mums) if meetings are at stupid times? I bring this up every time we discuss times of meetings - this is why we have a load of Dads on our governing board and hardly any Mums

cushioncover · 09/10/2007 15:36

It doesn't sound very fair and if nothing else they should be paying your babysitting fees.

I was a teacher governor before I had kids and I used to hate hanging around in school until 7pm. Mainly because it was always so bloody cold! Having said that, 4pm is obviously not ideal for either SAHP or working parents.

I do know of one school that alternates between a 3.45 start and a 7pm start. When it starts early, another teacher who isn't a governor keeps an eye on the kids in the library. This seems to work quite well there. Of course, this arrangement depends on lots of co-operation not least from the teacher whose turn it is to mark her work in the library.

You really do need to bring it up. It seems very unfair.

pinkbubble · 09/10/2007 15:38

My DH is a school Governer and his meetimgs are at 6pm

ShrinkingViolet · 09/10/2007 15:42

DH's meeting were either 7.30 or 8pm (commuterville here), and I think the buildings/premises committee did site inspections at 8am. One committe met at 4pm, but DH resigned form that as he couldn't get to any of the meetings - it was at that time as it suited the committe chair.

bozza · 09/10/2007 16:33

I don't get why 4pm is easier for Dads than Mums. If the Dad can manage to turn up at Governor's meeting, he could manage to look after the children thus freeing up the Mum.

I have looked after my friend's children for several hours while she was interviewing as a governor. And I would gladly do it again - it is in my best interests to make sure they choose the best candidates for positions at my children's school.

Seasider · 09/10/2007 16:45

Our FB used to be at 7.00 and comittee is at 3.15. They moved it to 3.15 and only 2, out of about 7, Parent Govs could attend. So hope it will change back. It's too much to expect someone to take on 2 or more kids for that key time after school. Our school has NO money so no chance of any pay for childcare at all. Good luck with bringing it up, alternating may be the way forward.

Tommy · 09/10/2007 18:04

that's a good point bozza but it is obvious that all our Dad govs come straight from work while the mums are at home with the children

aig · 09/10/2007 18:58

Our (secondary school) Governors meetings are almost all at 2.45pm; school hours are from 8am - 2.30pm. I think the governors are fairly self selecting as only people who can come then are on the governing body but we have parents attending (mothers and fathers) and generally good attendance.
I am Chair at the moment and I wouldn't do it if meetings were mostly late afternoon or evening. It is a C of E school and lots of governors are vicars and they tend to be busy in the evenings.

geekgirl · 09/10/2007 20:50

well, my babysitter will en route to Mallorca when the first GB meeting for this term takes place on Thursday - my bf has very kindly insisted that she has the children, but she's got three littlies of her own, including one with ASD & DS, so I feel rather guilty leaving her with mine too.

I'm only going really so that I can let off steam about the shite timing and the non-payment of expenses.

Am even more f@cked off now I've heard that virtually every other school has more sensible timing.

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bozza · 09/10/2007 22:06

Is it just me that is odd then? I would have no problems with leaving both of mine (they are 6 and 3) with either of two friends of mine. But as I work 3 days a week it is possible that they would be in childcare anyway. But then I would be grumbling (as I have about other meetings) about having to take half a day holiday.

pindy · 09/10/2007 22:26

Our school pays for babysitters (took a long time to get them to agree) but there is a fund for out of pocket expenses for governors, ask about this.

Good luck

geekgirl · 10/10/2007 08:16

bozza, I wouldn't have problems leaving two. But three is a different kettle of fish, particularly as one is only 3 and another one is 6 but can't talk.

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bozza · 10/10/2007 09:06

I do see your point geekgirl, and sympathise. My youngest is 3 as well but I can see having special needs and also an extra child does make a huge difference. I was surprised though, that everyone else had a similar problem.

cushioncover · 10/10/2007 11:30

Just to point out that the teacher governor will likely need to find childcare from 3.30 all the way to 7pm or later if like me their DH doesn't get in until after 7pm.

Like I said earlier, it is unfair always to be that time (4pm) but perhaps a compromise.

cushioncover · 10/10/2007 11:32

I wanted to add that I completely understand that having a child with SN makes finding appropriate childcare even more difficult.

geekgirl · 11/10/2007 21:14

oh FFS

I raised it at the meeting in a very calm and reasonable manner when the dates for this year's meetings were being agreed, asking whether anyone else found 4pm very difficult and explained my childcare problems.
I was met with stony stares and long silences.

was told by chair that governors' meetings should be considered to be on par with corporate board meetings, and after all they take place during the day too

and that teachers couldn't be expected to teach for a full day after having an evening meeting the day before

when I raised the expenses issue was again met with complete lack of understanding. Self-employed vice chair piped up that he was losing two working hours but not expecting any compensation for that, either.

Long long silence afterwards, probably to ram it home just how ridiculous I was being or something

see, the thing is, I would have been perfectly ok with them saying that actually, 4pm works out better for most of the governing body. I gave them the opportunity to do so.

Feel quite pissed off really.

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Hassled · 11/10/2007 21:17

I've read this thread with my jaw dropping so far it's now on the ground - and anger at your behalf. We have our Governor meetings at 7pm - teachers who have elected to be on the Governing Body come back into school for them. Everyone's happy. Some of the sub-committee meetings are immediately after school, but I've just made sure I'm not on those committees.

bozza · 11/10/2007 21:22

"should be considered to be on par with corporate board meetings" except that you get paid (and very well) if you attend corporate board meetings. That is a ridiculous comment. You would think that someone who is interested in the welfare of children (ie a governor) would have slightly more insight.

Also on further pondering, if I was a teacher and a parent (and let's face it, it's not unknown) I would prefer to go home, have the time with my family and then have an evening meeting.

geekgirl · 11/10/2007 21:44

we were also given a lecture on how we're not even allowed to talk to our dp about what gets discussed during a governors' meeting

i'll be the judge of what I talk to my dh about

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geekgirl · 11/10/2007 21:47

the bloody silences were the worst part really. i'm quite shy and not very assertive, I just wanted the ground to swallow me.

i should probably just chuck it in, but i like to know what goes on, i'll soon have 3 dc there and i want to be a part of it iyswim, i am always happy to volunteer for sats supervision etc.

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wheresmysuntan · 12/10/2007 08:57

I am very very about this on your behalf and agree with what Bozza and Hassled have said. The board meeting analogy is simply ludicrous. As Bozza pointed out board members get PAID and I'll bet most board members have to be very flexible when it comes to working hours.Interesting that the vice-chair is a man - does he have children and who looks after them whilst he is as the meeting? - a 'wife' probably.
I think it is perfectly reasonable to rotate the times of the meetings so that everyone has to put up with their fair share of inconvenience. Teachers are not the only ones with demanding jobs so just ocasionally the meetings might not be at the ideal time for them. I can't believe that the other govenors can't see this.
Is there some sort of Governor's group with a web-site you could consult for help ?
Perhaps you need to fight dirty and start banding around words like 'discrimination' and 'sexism'.

themildmanneredaxemurderer · 12/10/2007 08:58

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

geekgirl · 12/10/2007 09:21

not surprisingly, both the chair and the vice are men

the (admittedly very nice) head is a single childless woman.

I don't think I would want to go in all guns blazing because they'd just end up loathing me and with me having children at that school for another 8 years I really don't want to piss the head and others off.

They also said (not in reference to what I said) that anyone who didn't think the school was just fab shouldn't be on the governing body.

OP posts:
themildmanneredaxemurderer · 12/10/2007 09:22

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Simply · 12/10/2007 10:02

geekgirl I'm cheesed off on your behalf. I've only just seen this thread so I'm chipping in rather late but I think your points are absolutely valid and the way they responded to you raising them was wrong and insensitive. They should understand that you need appropriate childcare in order to attend the meetings and that you shouldn't be out of pocket. Also, the comment that "anyone who didn't think the school was just fab shouldn't be on the governing body" is just ridiculous.

The meetings that dh went to as a governor were at 4pm which meant cutting his working day short by a couple of hours. A friend joined the governers and I offered to have her children as her dh worked away in the week but she had already asked another friend. She didn't have a SN child, though, and I definitely think childcare should be provided at the school. This would not only benefit you but encourage other parents to apply to join the governors.

Sorry this is long.

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