My first post in my capacity as a school governor!
In readiness for a course that I will be running for the first time on ‘The Role of the Staff Governor’, I was thinking about what a difficult role it is from the point of view of potential conflicts of interest and the various ‘hats’ one would need to wear in different situations and contexts. I think that similar challenges exist for all school governors but are particularly accute for parents and staff members of the GB – with staff perhaps edging it in this respect.
I thought I would gather some interesting and challenging scenarios and dilemmas to present to delegates on my course in order to provoke some discussion. This is something I have always done on my course for parent governors and some excellent conversations inevitably follow! I have asked colleagues and my Twitter network and come up with the following:
1. Your headteacher comes to you with diary open to ask to put in some dates for the both of you to meet prior to governors meetings to discuss the upcoming agendas. How do you respond? roulette uk
2. A staff colleague asks you how you will be voting and says to you, “You know, don’t you, what the majority of staff think about this. You need to represent us by voting our way at the meeting.” You don’t share the majority view. What do you say? How will you vote?
3. A staff colleague approaches you insisting that you raise the issue of the broken staff-room fridge at governors. How do you respond? What if it is the issue of the dangerous paving in the staff car park?
4. A staff colleague sits down next to you in the staff room and starts moaning and slagging off a parent (who is a governor) suggesting they must be dreadful in governors meetings. How do you respond?
5. In a governors meeting, the Headteacher is reporting on the progress of pupils. You become aware that the data has been ‘spruced up’ in a way that you think is deceptive or gives a misleading message to governors. What do you do?
6. A curriculum leader or Head of Department is invited to report to governors about developments in their subject/department. There are some fundamental inaccuracies that you are aware of. What do you do?
7. Another (non-staff) governor asks you your opinion of one of your teaching colleagues. They say they have a right to know about the quality of teaching because OFSTED expect governors to know this stuff now.
8. You are in the supermarket when a parent sidles up to you saying, “You’re a governor up at the school aren’t you? I hope you don’t mind me saying but I’ve got a real problem with that last letter the Headteacher sent out. It was…” How do you respond?
9. You are in the supermarket when a parent sidles up to you saying, “You’re a governor up at the school aren’t you? I’ve heard that there’s a real problem with bullying/drugs at the school. Is this true? What are governors doing about it?” How do you respond?
I would love you to suggest any more in the comments but would also very much welcome your responses to the scenarios! Please do contribute!
The Twitter discussion went off on a slight tangent into a discussion as to whether or not governing bodies should have staff representation at all, or indeed parent representation. At that point, I had to attend a committee meeting (at which we were presented with a report from the Head of Maths…). Please see my other post on the challenges facing parent governors.
Amongst all the people who have helped, I am grateful to the following Twitterers:
@chilledteaching @balance_ec @runsworth @global_teacher
@sugaredpill @ideas_factory @andyisatwork
@clare_collins @cwcomm1 @5N_afzal @ingotian