Education Needs: Governors

In the eight (8) months I have been Vice Chair of Governors I have:

  • negotiated with the Local Authority for additional funding for the school building extension
  • chaired the TiC appraisal and pay review
  • chaired the TiC recruitment panel
  • established a CoTiC structure to take the school forward
  • established a CoTiC led OFSTED Compliance Committee to take the school towards the deserved EXCELLENT rating it warrants
  • identified a number of partnerships to give more opportunities and support to the children
  • chaired the Curriculum Committee where we are focussed on the Alternative Curriculum and giving the children the skills and opportunities they will require in addition to their formal education to make the most of the opportunities that they face in the future.

Whilst I have learned a lot about the current educational system, and my admiration for teachers has grown even more, I am left with a number of observations:

  • teachers are spending too long administrating rather than teaching
  • being an administrator is not the same as being a manager
  • schools need a clearer divide between those that teach and those that manage
  • the “system” is not fit for purpose, nor are those that run it
  • class sizes in mainstream education remain too large
  • the Teachers Assistant role is a brilliant innovation and an excellent way to utilise former teachers who faced burn out because they were not spending enough time with students
  • the role of Business Manager is a brilliant innovation but needs far more resources to enable teachers to spend more time teaching.
  • the role of Governor needs redefining.

On this last point I refer you to my first list: all of which required and utilised the skills developed through my years in business, not in schools! Yet the potential Governors we are ‘sent’ to fill our vacancies continue to be from ‘school backgrounds’. We have yet to appoint one, and I have one other item to add to my initial list:

  • I have set up a committee to look at the future role of Governors within the school and to define both the role and the attributes required of new Governors.

We are not anticipating recruiting future Governors from within the existing structures and frameworks. We will be utilising relationships we have and targeting specific skill sets: career development, fund raising, mentoring and coaching, management and leadership.

Governors will have it clearly explained to then what the requirements will be on their time and will only be accepted if they can meet this requirement: you need to know the school, staff, students and parents before you can help govern it. You need to be a “how can I help” rather than a “you need to” person. You need to want to facilitate change rather than maintain the status quo. You need to put the children first.

I will stop now as another thing I have learn in the last eight (8) months is that in education they don’t like to use one sentence when ten will do!