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Dear Clare- advice from Governor

Discussion in 'Governors' started by rochelina22, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. My head recently decided to remove my TA and put another one into my class effective from Easter, and informed me the day before we broke up. I asked advice from a governor who spends a morning in my class once a week, and who is a very wise and impartial person, however because I see her as a colleague, I emailed her and she then spoke to head who is furious because she thinks I have made a formal complaint to the govs, without going through the proper channels. However, this not what I did and was never my intention, just to ask the advice of a governor, and even my line manager told me that it was a good idea. I have written head a letter to explain, and also to express my concerns, but not sure whether to send it.

    I have looked through the professional standards- am I allowed to send a letter or will I make the situation worse? Is it really a terrible thing to seek advice from a colleague, albeit a governor?
     
  2. My head recently decided to remove my TA and put another one into my class effective from Easter, and informed me the day before we broke up. I asked advice from a governor who spends a morning in my class once a week, and who is a very wise and impartial person, however because I see her as a colleague, I emailed her and she then spoke to head who is furious because she thinks I have made a formal complaint to the govs, without going through the proper channels. However, this not what I did and was never my intention, just to ask the advice of a governor, and even my line manager told me that it was a good idea. I have written head a letter to explain, and also to express my concerns, but not sure whether to send it.

    I have looked through the professional standards- am I allowed to send a letter or will I make the situation worse? Is it really a terrible thing to seek advice from a colleague, albeit a governor?
     
  3. A cautionary tale perhaps. Strictly speaking I think you should not have spoken about this to a governor, although I can see that you valued her advice. Perhaps you did not think to make it clear that you were speaking to her in confidence. Then she would not have gone to the HT.
    I must admit that if a member of my staff had spoken to a governor about one of my decisions,, without talking to me, I would; be less than happy about it. There is a clear chain of command as it were. Governors have no responsibility for operational matters, nor do they have the authority to act individually (apart from the CoG in certain circumstances).
    There is nothing to stop you writing to your HT. But might it not be better to talk face to face? I think you need to apologise and explain that you were not "complaining" to a governor. You may also wish to mention that your line manager said it was a good idea - even if it wasn't.
    This is just my opinion, others may take a different tack.
     
  4. Is it really a terrible thing to seek advice from a governor?

    I cannot understand why anyone would 'ask the advice of a governor' re a day to day management matter. Why would you believe that s/he is qualified to give advice regarding day to day operations? The only person who has the full picture re. this is the headteacher and you should have been upfront enough to speak to him/her.
    Yes, I think it is pretty bad.
     
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    Rochelina, I think knowmanythings response is overly censorious. You haven't done a 'bad thing', although you have learnt the lesson that some HTs can be very sensitive about governors and 'proper procedure'. As you say, the person has two roles, as a staff member (vounteer?) and a governor, and there's no reason at all why you can't use anyone whose advice you trust as an informal sounding board for something like this - it's not confidential. Where it went wrong was not making clear to the person that under no circumstances did you want them to dscuss your concerns with the HT or anyone else!
    I'd follow blackdog's advice and see the HT personally and explain that you were just talking informally to the person as a work colleague and never intended them to discuss it with anyone, far less raise it formally - that you are very embarrassed about what's hapened and are not making any formal complaint and apologise.
    However, don't stop at that point. Clearly you do have concerns about the change in TA so go on to raise that issue with the head and discuss it. Don't let your embarrassment about what's happened deflect you from raising a real concern.
     
  6. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Because in choosing someone who worked in or with the school, she was implictly criticising the headteacher. Bear in mind that the governing body has the ultimate say over the head's continuing employment and you realise that discussing this with a governor was even more wrong.
    Yes, everyone has the option of confiding in someone over a work issue - but doing so to someone within the workplace about your boss's decision - dynamite.
     
  7. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    You must work in a very strange world middlemarch if you think that people in workplaces shouldn't gripe about the boss's decisions with the people they work with. Conversation in my staffroom would be very dull if no-one moaned about SMTs latest "restructuring". You're not a headteacher are you? They often get odd ideas about what their staff actually talk about when no-one from senior management is there listening.
     

  8. I am sure your 'gentle' approach aims to be less critical.
    Unfortunately, I have seen too many times schools where governors are used by some members of staff against the headteacher. I am not a head, but respect the role of head and will raise concerns appropriately with the head or delegated staff member. Its generally older teachers that I have seen acting like this, but sometimes one sees young staff emulating this behaviour. It's not good.

    As for 'gripes in the staffroom against the head' - that's a valuable stress release, I know, but there are too many who want to climb the greasy pole and run tale-telling to the head. Others tale tell to governors.
    Much better to question directly, calmly, professionally and openly.
     
  9. grrmummy

    grrmummy New commenter

    I wonder whether the real point is that one TA was substituted with another TA? If you haven't lost out in terms of TA support I cannot really see what the problem is. One has to assume (without knowing any details) that the HT took an opperational decision for good reason. If on the other hand you do have genuine concerns re continuity of staff in terms of the children's needs (rather than your own) then yes it is appropriate to raise these with your line manager/DHT/HT - but not with a governor (even one who is a regular helper in the classroom). Whether or not you send the letter depends on what is in it - I persoanlly think you should acknowledge that with the benefit of hindsight (and being upset at the time) you confided inapprorpiately and will learn from this.Hopefully your HT will also do so and give people a little more notice next time!
     

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