My blog has been a lot about CityEngine and planning workflows but I’d like to warn you that I will occasionally be posting some words about my new adventure. A while back attending one of children’s class assemblies at the local primary school (Sedbergh Primary School) the headteacher announced a vacancy for a ‘co-opted’ governor on the schools governing body. Now, I had been looking for a local community group to volunteer for, that took me outside my comfort zone and was unrelated to my professional career. This seemed to fit me.
I approached the headteacher to say I was interested and we arranged a meeting where he explained the role of a governor and gave me an idea of the challenges the school was facing. From what I’ve now read the governors of a school can be very important, just read some Ofsted reports and you’ll see mention of them and their role.
Leaders, including governors, have successfully steered the school through a challenging period. They have been successful in their drive to raise standards since the previous inspection. School Inspection Report 27th September 2016
To be honest I was unsure how I could help. I needn’t have worried too much. The headteacher reassured me that support was available and that prior knowledge of governance was not a requirement in fact they wanted co-opted governors to bring their own skill sets to the table. The idea was to bring my professional skills to the board rather than my parenting ability…
Fast forward to the recent governors meeting this week which I attended as an observer. This was a fun lively meeting discussing lots of things related to the school, I get the feeling I will have a better appreciation of just how much work teachers do across the board (I had an idea, but still!). I’m happy to report that the existing governors took a vote to admit me. This means I am a ‘co-opted’ School Governor of Sedbergh Primary School, this is of course subject to a criminal records check also know as a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) process. The meeting itself is strictly confidential which if you think about it makes sense when especially when dealing with a small school and children. I will never go into detailed specifics of my role here on this blog, but I see no harm in discussing the generality of the role and my learning journey. This is very early days I don’t know all the terminology but I’m excited to learn!
In conclusion I’m on the start of a learning journey I guess! So my blog will be used as I have done for my career as a place to store notes and resources as well as thoughts. Those of you who read this site know I only started it as a place to keep notes really 🙂 I suspect the next blog post will be about educational related acronyms!
Wish me luck, please leave a comment or note if I get something horribly wrong or you can offer advice or resources!
Websites for background
- National Governance Association
- Inspiring Governance
- School Governance at GOV.UK
- Sedbergh Primary School Governors page
- Ofsted Reports
- Governor Support Team Cumbria
- Governance Handbook
- Disclosure and Barring Service
Notes on ‘co-opted’ vs ‘parent’ governors
So apparently there are more than one type of governor (taken from this document from the Inspiring Governance website):
- Academy Trustee
- Academy Members
- Chair of Governors
- Co-opted Governor
- Foundation Governor
- Local Authority (LA) Governor
- Parent Governor
- Staff Governor
I think these are almost self explanatory but only if you are involved in school life, some of this probably relates to the type of school you are involved with. There is also statutory guidance for local-authority maintained schools here. I think my concern was what the difference between parent and co-opted was. I was aware the parent governors are elected whilst co-opted are appointed. Perhaps I best let the document from Inspiring Governance explain:
Co-opted Governor – This is an individual from the community who has the skills and experience which the governing board require. They will be appointed by the existing board, following an interview
Parent Governor – An individual who has a child of legal school age (5 – 16) and is elected by the parent body to serve as a governor. They are usually parents who have a child on role at the school, but it is not a legal requirement. It is possible to be a parent governor because you have a child of legal school age, but not attending the school at which you govern.