Friday, 5 October 2012

Being a school governor

When I started as a school governor back in the 1980’s both the number and complexity of the responsibilities that had to be dealt with were very much less than are now the case. It was also assumed that you would be able to serve your apprenticeship before other members would even consider asking you to take on the role of chairing a sub-committee.  Chairs and Vice-Chair were usually veterans with 10 or even 20 years of experience to draw on and most of the time deserved the respect with which they were treated by the other volunteers.

Fast forward to the present day.  The quality and quantity of people prepared to take on the role of a school governor has dropped significantly - not least because Government has dramatically increased the workload and this has meant that many more people have neither the time nor the inclination to spend their limited leisure time in this way. Governors are now being “forced” to take on positions of additional responsibility before they feel comfortable doing so and, more importantly, before they have the knowledge required to do the job.

I think it is extremely difficult to do the job of Chair of Governors unless you are retired since much of the job has to be done during the working day. It is also almost a prerequisite that you have a detailed knowledge of education before you take on the role – how else can you be expected to act as a critical friend to the school?  You need to know what questions to ask and what would be a reasonable answer.
I find it very difficult to understand how any school when the total experience of the Chair and Vice Chair is only 4 years can be expected to function effectively and I think it is grossly irresponsible of the Government to allow the current flawed system to continue.

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