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Chair of Governors

Discussion in 'Governors' started by IndigoDreams, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. What's involved in being a chair of governors? (As opposed to being a normal governor which I already am)

    And do you think it creates a conflict of interest to be the chair when you're a parent governor and have children still at the school and are in frequent meetings with SENCO / HT about your own children?
  2. What's involved in being a chair of governors? (As opposed to being a normal governor which I already am)

    And do you think it creates a conflict of interest to be the chair when you're a parent governor and have children still at the school and are in frequent meetings with SENCO / HT about your own children?
  3. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Welcome to TES, Indigo.
    If you are scrupulous about confidentiality and always remember that your role as governor and as parent are completely seperate it can work. There is quite a bit more work involved in being a CoG but not much more power .....
  4. I agree with HBF entirely. The role of chair does carry a lot more work as you will need to meet on a regular basis with the Head, probably be involved in his/her performance reviews, meet with OfSTED and represent the GB at meetings with the LA (assuming you are a maintained school). It will also be your role to set (or at least approve) the agenda for meetings and effectively manage them. It may be that you will be involved in complaints and staff disputes at some stage.
    It is important to remember though, that the CoG has no power to act independently, and if exceptionally,a decision is made under "urgent powers" you would need to report that and justify it as soon as possible to the GB.
    As far as a conflict of interest is concerned, most CoGs either are or have been parents of students in my experience and as long as you act in the interests of all students (as all governors should) then there is no conflict.
  5. Thanks.

    I'm trying to get some idea of how much work it is though. How often would you normally meet with the Head?

    And what would you be discussing?
  6. That is difficult to say as it very much depends on circumstances: if the Head is relatively new to the post, if the school is having problems, if the school is considering a change in status, if restructuring is a possibility, then all or any of those issues may affect your frequency.
    I am a fairly experienced CoG and our Head has been in post for a full year. initially I met with him on a fortnightly basis for about an hour where we discussed a number of changes that he would like to make (using me as a sounding board) and of course discussed how he was settling in, feeling his feet within the role and generally getting to know each other.
    That frequency has now turned to about once a month, where we discuss issues that he would like to bring to the GB, how targets are being met, and any problems he may have in implementing polices and procedures. That seems to work for us but each situation is different. We are a fairly large 11-19 school with a role of around 1500. The relationship would be very different in a small school or primary I suspect.
    The one thing I would strongly advise you against discussing though, whatever the frequency, is specific detail about individual staff members or students. Day to day management is his role with the SLT. Ours is strategic and support for the Head.
  7. staxis

    staxis New commenter

    I would go along with what Zeberdie has said. It is more work than being a normal governor. As CoG I deal with something governor related almost every day. Often it is dealing with an email quickly but it can be an issue that takes a little more time.
    Meeting with the Head regularly is important. I am CoG of a first school and I have a meeting with the Head about once each half-term with phone calls in between when necessary.
    There does not have to be a conflict of interests between you being a parent and CoG providing you are comfortable with this and other people can see that there is no conflict.
    Best of luck!
  8. The advice from previous posters is really sound. If it helps I will add my own thoughts. I'm a Parent Governor in a small primary school and have been CoG for 18 months. I too find that in term time I do something within that role most days. Fortunately I stopped (paid) work not long after I took it on. I can honestly say that I would not be able to do the role and keep a full time job (as well as a mum of 3 under 7) so don't underestimate the time you will have to devote. I guess however it depends on how much you want to put into it.
    A few of the things I've been involved with are: chairing a grievance complaint; responding diplomatically to parental complaints; managing and motivating governors to contribute who think the job is a bit of a hobby or status symbol <sigh>; meet with the HT usually weekly for an hour or more; been on selection panel for staff interviews; worked with school office to help file our documents electronically and for them to update policies we approve; with the clerk set FGB meeting agendas (lengthier than it sounds!); be the role model to other governors in terms of attending district meetings and trainings; do monitoring visits; looking at school performance data with the HT; being on-call and on site for the 2-day OFSTED inspection; attended school INSET day for a team-building session (that last one was fun!).
    I feel it's a big commitment to make, it's unpaid and there will be days you wish you weren't chair because you get to hear about the less great side of things. You may never get anyone saying thank you for the effort you put in. There again you will have a unique experience. It's important to me to put a lot into the role - partly my contribution to society, partly because my children could be in that school for the next 11 years and I care that I do my best for the school.
    You will need to remember that when you're CoG your concern is for the WHOLE school - not just for the classes your child(ren) are in. You must divorce your 'parent' hat from your CoG 'hat' and act professionally. It will be essential for you to maintain confidences that sometimes you wish you could share.
    Best of luck! :)
  9. Oh Ickar I so wish you were my chair! Your school is extremely lucky.
  10. As Chair I used to go into school at least weekly. I kept records, just for my own interest, and I averaged 4 hours per week on CofG work.
    In many way being CofG was the most rewarding period of my professional life and I miss it a lot. (I only resigned because I moved 70 miles away!).
    I appreciate that I was lucky in that I had an excellent Head Teacher and an excellent Clerk to work with and that not all readers will be so lucky.
  11. Can I ask- our chair has recently been appointed although has been a gov for a while, and is a gov of another school. Does appear to not have any idea what the school is all about? they never visit or meet with the HT and know nothing about the community the school sits in?! what can I do?
  12. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    You might have been better starting a new question.

    What type of school are you, community, academy, other? If your chair has been appointed as opposed to the norm of elected there must be a good reason. What ofsted category is your school? It sounds to me that your school has brought in a chair with a proven track record who may not initially know much about your school. How long have they been chair?

    Are you a governor at this school? Is this chair ineffective or are they not an insider of your liking. What evidence do you have of your claims?

    Who exactly appointed this chair? Your GB, your LA or the SoS of education? If your GB then they have the power to un appoint at any time. If the LA much more difficult. If the SoS very difficult to remove. To get a better answer more information is needed.
  13. Saf114

    Saf114 New commenter

    To those who already CoG, how realistic is it to be a CoG and be in full time employment - how do you manage the two?
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Difficult Saf, the trick is to have good Vice Chair and Committee Chairs and share the leadership responsibilities, 'distributed leadership' for GBs. And an employer who allows you reasonable time off for governor duties.
  15. Apologies for the lack of info- Yes I am a community Gov at a community school which is "good but needing improvement in some areas" Our old COG died in jan and the VC stepped up with agreement from the rest of the GB.......I am wondering now if this was wise?!

    He has been a Gov at another school but he seems to lack any experience with most of the procedures etc....we met today with our new SIP and he barely said a thing! most meetings he sits like a rabbit in headlights?! And instead of us dicussing wether the school vision is going he is intent on changing things like the school ethos/values?! even though a show of hands proved people werent up for changing it?! I feel that his years experience isnt helping him in leading our GB?! :( I dont want to upset him but I do not have the faith that should OFSTED talk to him they will be assured that we are a sound and active GB

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