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Can Governors observe lessons?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Bookshelf2012, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    There's nothing wrong per se with governors visiting classrooms. They are so accountable these days, that they need to have a good awareness of what is going on in school. What is important, is why governors visit classrooms, and how the visits are carried out.
    Our governors visit to see "their" subject being taught. They liaise with the subject co-ordinator who lets us know which governor is visiting and when, and asks for volunteers who are happy to have a governor see their teaching. So we always know when a governor will be in our classroom.
    Governors always make a written report which they send to the SMT and relevant subject co-ordinator. They know that they mustn't comment on teaching and learning as they aren't qualified to do so. But they will describe the kinds of activities they saw happening in different year groups, and comment on things such as how engaged children were. All the reports I've seen have been very positive, and have included a request to pass on their thanks to class teachers for letting them see the lessons.
    If governor visits are carried out like this, then they are useful in terms of developing governors' understanding of what happens in school, and in developing good relationships between staff and governors.
    If governors drop in unannounced, or are asked to make (or to assist in making) judgements, then that is a completely different story.
  2. Anyone can come in and observe, even the parents now, whenever they wish. I believe.
  3. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    Cariad2 that's what is supposed to happen at our school
    many of the governors are parents and we do have a confidentiality issue - they tell folk they're coming in to observe not visit . . .the people they tell, ask them what was going on, especially if the governor has been in their child's classroom . . . they tell them their version of events (in confidence of course) and a few days down the line, we get feed back from parents, either in a negative way Is it true that you... or just basic info e.g. ' those year x children are a lively lot, how do you cope?'
    Some of our governors/ parent governors are teachers/ ex teachers and they do think they have a right to comment on lessons based on 'their experience' no matter how much advice they are given on their role as a governor. Sometimes it's like having OFSTED in week on week. It spoils it for the governors who act like those you describe.
  4. I wish that were always true. I think it may be a bit naive.
    school has a multitude of parent governors, many of whom would jump at
    the chance to get inside the classroom and use that as ammunition at
    governors' meetings. Many of them become governors so that they can
    have (as they see it) 'more influence' over their own children's day to
    day school life. For example, I have had several governor parents 'ask'
    for their children to be moved into an upper set class, and even to
    move seats within the classroom. I even had one ask if their child
    could be considered for a sports tournament. Often they seem to think
    their position of the board means their child will get some sort of
    favourable treatment - it is horrible!

    I accept that our governors many not be 'the norm' though.
  5. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Oh, I think that IS the norm. All those things have happened with parent governors in my school. They seem to expect that their children will have priority because of being a Governor's child. Picked for the lead part in plays, solos in the concerts, always in the sports teams, etc.

    Regarding the visits, governors are welcome to 'visit' in my school, as long as they are prepared to roll up their sleeves and help out. NO WAY would they be allowed to sit in the corner and take notes. Any feedback must be informal and verbal, along the lines of "the children were kept busy all morning". What else could they comment on, with no qualifications? They can't comment on the lesson content, structure or impact. Helping hands, that's all they can be. And if it's THAT parent, they get to wash pots and tidy the electricity trays.
  6. Governors are supposed to visit school to help them to monitor what is going on in school, and Ofsted can ask governors how they monitor what happens in schools. Not sure what they are doing "helping with observations" as this is not appropriate. They have no role to play in this as they are not the educational experts and should not be involved in lesson observations This is the job of the headteacher and snr leadership team who are responsible for the day to day mangement of the school and who have the relevant expertise.
    The school should have a Governor Visits Policy that clearly lays out the protocols for visits. Governors should go into classrooms to see what is going on but shouldn't interfer in lessons, visits should be linked to key development areas as set out in the Schools Development Plan for that year, so that governors can help to monitor progress. Any visits that are specifically to observe a particular lesson, should be organised through the headteacher and the classroom teacher should know what they are there to look at and why - it's just good practice and polite !
    Sorry for the rant - I am a Chair of Governors and so many governors get this bit wrong!
  7. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Hmmmmmmmmmm and Oh Dear!
  8. What do you report on?

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