School Development Ambassadors

FullSizeRenderOne question I like to ask a governing body is, “If I asked you what your key school development priorities are, would you be able to tell me?” It is surprising how many sheepish looks I get. Surely, this is the core business of governors. If I were to cut a governor in half, shouldn’t I see, like a stick of rock, the school development priorities writ large? I also often say, “If I were to read a sample of your committee and full meeting minutes and a headteacher’s report, I should be able to tell you what your priorities are, shouldn’t I? Because they will glow like golden threads won’t they?”

So how do we make sure we keep our eye on the ball and keep our focus on those crucial priorities? I’ve come across a few ideas and have some of my own.

There was one school where, when I asked that first question, they all reached for their wallets and purses and pulled out laminated cards with the School Development Plan (SDP) priorites on them. At my own school, we have a text box on our agendas with the SDP priorities within it – this ensures we are ever reminded of our key foci. video poker download

On a recent visit to Hightown JIN School where I’d done some work with governors, I was impressed by the clear, well-presented, visual display of the SDP in the headteacher’s office. Although this is obviously underpinned by a detailed action plan, I like the way it is all so easy to see and understand.

This got me thinking a bit more. Why not have a named governor responsible for monitoring each of the 4 sub-sections? Each of these sub-sections could have its own little ‘business card’ to reside in said governor’s wallet/purse. That governor could see themselves as an ‘ambassador’ for that aspect of the SDP. What would that ambassadorial role involve?

  • Visits into school to directly monitor progress in that particular subsection. A visit that would include meeting with relevant staff for updates, being talked through any school-based files or paperwork, a look at any relevant data, a learning walk, checking against dated milestones etc.
  • An awareness of any relevant policies. what is the safest online gambling sites
  • An awareness of milestones and dates coming up or being passed in the SDP and ensuring monitoring of such milestones.
  • Asking timely and relevant questions in meetings that pertain to their particular sub-section. virtual blackjack machines for sale
  • Asking themselves at the end of meetings if their area has been touched upon appropriately. top 10 gambling sites

Of course, this wouldn’t mean that other governors would be absolved responsibility for monitoring the SDP, just that someone would have particular responsibility. real money casino app for iphone

The other thing to add is that of course these principles apply equally to other aspects of governors’ monitoring role such as SEND, Safeguarding, and the curriculum. where governing bodies should identify named governors.

Have I missed anything? Have this made you think of anything? I’d love you to comment if so!


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Another school governance post. A ‘partner’ post to my one on the Role of the Staff Governor. This time, I have been thinking about the challenges that face parent governors and the problems they face with the different metaphorical hats that they need to wear.

Here are some thought-provoking scenarios that parent governors may face. What do you think? Have you had any similar ones? Can you think of others? How would you deal with them?

1. Through discussions at governors meetings, you are aware that a member of the teaching staff has been experiencing relationship difficulties and has consequently been taking frequent time off school as sick leave and for a variety of appointments. A group of parents approach you and demand to know what you, as a parent governor, propose to do about it. How do you respond? What about if your own child is in that teacher’s class?

2. There is another parent governor who you also know socially. Over coffee, they start to express concerns about the ability of one of the teachers at the school, saying that they are not up to the job and that children are not making progress. How do you respond? What about if the concerns are about the Headteacher’s competence/ability?

3. You are a parent governor in a primary school that does not have a formal school uniform. You believe very strongly that the school should have a school uniform and expressed that view at a governors meeting at which the decision was taken to continue without the uniform. A parent approaches you and says “I really think there should be a school uniform! What a stupid decision! What do you think?” How do you respond?

4. You receive an invitation on Facebook to join a Facebook group that is critical of the school/headteacher. How do you respond? If you are not on Facebook but are aware of the group’s existence, what would you do?

5. You are on an interview panel for the appointment of a teacher. After interviewing a young female candidate, the headteacher says “Oh, we wouldn’t want to appoint her, she’d be off on maternity leave in the next couple of years and we’d have a right headache finding a temporary replacement.” How would you respond?

6. Your child has a really good friend in his/her class that is also your next door neighbour. The child is excluded from the school because of a behavioural incident. His mother, your friend and neighbour, comes round to your house to ask you what you think and to say how unfair she thinks it is. How do you respond?

7. A parent comes up to you and says that they think you obviously became a governor because everyone knows that the children of parent governors get treated more favourably. How do you respond?

8. A parent tells you they are really unhappy with their child’s class teacher who they say is always shouting at the class and making their child unhappy and not want to go to school. They say to you, “You’re a governor. Can you sort it out?” How do you respond?

Image thanks to Broodkast on Flickr




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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. the best online casino for mac usa

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?

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? tarzan king of the jungle slots

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
@cwcomm1 @5N_afzal @ingotian

and to Julia Manzerova on Flickr for the image.

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