I attended a full governors meeting last night at the small school I’m a Local Authority Governor for. We’re back into the window for an Ofsted inspection after Easter so a chair from a similar school who went through inspection last term came to give us insight on what we can expect as governors and what Ofsted expect from us.
In all honesty it left me a little concerned. We have a very experienced and capable head who whilst not keeping us in the dark does, it seems, keep us at arms length. Often with such phrases as yes but it’s different in education (pay grades) or a yes but it’s different for teaching staff (recruitment). Last night I was told that whilst yes my work experience and skill set were one of the reasons I was asked to be a governor at this school it wasn’t the right sort if experience for teacher recruitment.
When she was reminded that yes the head leads the recruitment and selection process but any appointments are made by the governors there was a bristle. A power play.
The qualified accountant has similar challenges with the budget/finance conversations and the project manager from a construction firm with any health and safety or facilities matters.
So what do we do? Well it’s adequate situation. None of us want to upset the Head but we also don’t want to be there to tick the box – we volunteer to be governors because we want to contribute. So we’ll suggest, propose, offer and build trust. It’s not about challenging her authority or knowledge but about using the skills and experience if those with a vested interest to be best advantage for the school and ultimately the pupils.
I’m working with the chair to identify transferable skills – how do we get the best from our governors? What skills do they have that we can use and benefit from. What are their other areas of skills and expertise?
The role of governor is to be critical friend but also to support the school; the current DfE consultation talks about changing the constitution of governing bodies to the benefit of the school – to use the skills that governors from a variety of background can use.
So yes maybe the wrong sort of right experience but perhaps the right sort of skills to compliment those with the right experience.
We’ll call this one a work in progress……