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Governors - decide or approve?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Keighleigh, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    Should the GB be deciding what is right for the school or approving plans put forward? If the HT, SBM and SLT have looked at all info (including several quotes) and decided on a supplier should governors then be deciding which they want or approving what the school has said?

    Getting a bit tricky this relationship with our GB with the Chair halting decisions that committees have approved! Some guidance/ wisdom would be useful here!
     
  2. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    Should the GB be deciding what is right for the school or approving plans put forward? If the HT, SBM and SLT have looked at all info (including several quotes) and decided on a supplier should governors then be deciding which they want or approving what the school has said?

    Getting a bit tricky this relationship with our GB with the Chair halting decisions that committees have approved! Some guidance/ wisdom would be useful here!
     
  3. Governors often don't get it! They have a very clear role. You run the school and make all decisions about day to day and strategic leadership of the school.They work collegiately and make decisions as a group not allowed to as individuals. They put themselves at risk if they act alone. The areas where they make decisions are very few. They check/ oversee your work. They primarily appoint the Head. They approve the budget once a year. They give the go ahead for spending on a large scale usually above a certain sum described in finance policy. They can advise and share their expertise but you take it or leave it. You have to justify your decisions. A few well honed polite no statements show you are in control eg. Thanks for your offer/ advice - after due consideration I have decided... I'll monitor the prog and add to my HT report next term etc. I recommend talking to governor services. Explain your situation and they can deliver a good session on roles and responsibilities. This will reassure you and governors and help you move forward knowing everyone's role.
     
  4. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    Thanks for guidance from everybody. I'll go back to the scheme of delegation and go from there. Concerned the negative impact that can happen for a Primary Head when the relationship between Head and governors breaks down. Totally understand that the governors are there to ensure that what the school does is the right decision as a part of the strategic development of the school and the bigger picture. Hey ho, can only hope for the best!!
     
  5. Despite Rottweillers assertions I believe my views are correct and I have a governing body viewed as outstanding by the local authority and Ofsted to prove it. I have excellent governors who share their expertise individually but decisions are made corporately otherwise individuls can be liable. Good Governance is about everyone knowing their roles and responsibilities. No Head wants to be undermined by Governors who do not understand their responsibilities. There needs to be mutual respect and accountability, as already stated. An excellent Chair is the key in my opinion and an explicit agreement and understading about the role of the Head in running the school and the Governors in overseeing his/her work.Some do try to interfere in areas which are not their responsibility and I think the original poster is correct that Governors should not be making decisions over those advised by the Head. Dialogue and checking details are to be encouraged.
     
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Lead commenter Forum guide

    You can dismiss my post as merely my assertions if you like transylvanian but my description of the respective roles of the head and governors is a direct quotation from education law and DfE guidance which I pasted in. I'm surprised you didn't recognise it.
    Neither of us can have any idea whether Keighleigh's governors should or shouldn't have accepted the head's recommendation on the preferred contractor and it's unhelpful to Keighleigh to say that they should have done.We know nothing about the contract or the school's circumstances.
    No they almost certainly can't be. You have disregarded the provsions of SSFA 1998 s50, the Chair's powers of action under the Procedures Regulations, and the almost universal practice of governing bodoes delegating their powers. (And who would they liable to? And for what?)
    As readers of this thread don't know either of us I am not going to challenge your incorrect views simply by asserting that my experience as a governor and governor trainer is bigger than yours ('yah boo'), so I paste below Ofsted's descriptor of an Outstanding governing body and leave it for others to decide whether this is more consistent with your assertion that heads "make all the decisions about the strategic leadership of the school", that governors make "very few" decisions, that the governors should not make decisions "over those advised by the head", or whether it is more consistent with what I said.
    <u>Ofsted Evaluation Schedule 2009 - "Outstanding" Grade descriptor for governing body </u>
    "Governors make an exceptional contribution to the work and direction of the school. They have high levels of insight and are extremely well organised and thorough in their approach. They are vigorous in ensuring that all pupils and staff are safe. In discharging their statutory responsibilities, they have very robust systems for evaluating the effectiveness of their implementation, keeping the work of the school under review and acting upon their findings. Governors are innovative, flexible and adapt to new ideas quickly, supporting the work of the staff in improving outcomes for all pupils. They are confident in providing high levels of professional challenge to hold the school to account. Governors engage very effectively with parents, pupils and the staff as a whole and are well informed about users' views of the school. They use these views to inform strategic priorities for development."

    I suppose as this thread is on the heads forum not the governors forum I shouldn't be surprised that the responses all talk about the wicked governors who don't understand their role. Pose the issue on the governors forum to hear about the heads who don't understand the role of governors, don't want to be held to account by them, and obstruct the work of governing bodoes.
     
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    A few over-step their role so significantly that they are wicked, I'm afraid. Spreading rumours around the community about the head's personal life - I count that as wicked.
    I count myself fortunate that the governors I've worked with have been mostly very supportive of me and very kind to me. A couple were not.
     
  8. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    So transivanian, your governors know virtually nothing about education and need lots of support from you but got graded Outstanding by Ofsted. Wow! Can't decide who is most useless, governors or ofsted.

    Do you heads on here who so belittling of governors actually think you should be accountable to anyone except yourelves? 'The arrogance of headteachers' I believe it is usually called, heads who don't believe they need to be accountable except to their own conscience (or to god if they are Catholic heads). In my last school we were saved by the governors who fired a head who had the arrogance of headteachers disease but was incompetent. Changed my view of governors.
     
  9. ...and who are governors accountable to?
    I have worked with fantastic governors, three in particular. One was on Ofsted inspector, one was very high up in a national children's charity and the third was regional person for council workers' union.
    These three pushed me, challenged me, helped me with strategic direction, praised me and fully understood their roles and responsibilities. Similarly, I've worked with some fantastic parent governors who understood their role after I gave them the confidence to challenge me.
    However, those who know me on this forum also know the appalling time I have received from my chair and his cronies who, in the words of my link officer, use governor meetings to boost their own egos and think they own the school.
    So, no I am not arrogant and know that I am accountable to more than my conscience.
    Thank you!
     
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Indeed. I assume the person suggesting we were 'arrogant' thinks it's OK for other teachers to be bullied and harassed, too - or is it just heads?
    Governors come from all walks of life and they can be as prone to being unpleasant as the next person. That they are accountable to no-one at all and impossible to remove if they behave badly is the issue.
     
  11. I think everyone should chill out. Old Rottweiller got the wrong end of the stick, got a bit shirty, another took offence where none was offered! We are all working very hard for a common purpose, both volunteers and paid employees and how we run our schools sounds equally great all round. What could we share to help the original post? Good systems and clear communication might be a 1st step.
     
  12. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    This is the one sentence that stands out for me. I can't obviously give detail but the relationship between the Head and Governors is one that has to be strong to bring about the best outcomes for all pupils. This thread has really opened my eyes to how different people perceive the roles and as this is the only school where I have had so much involvement with the governors, I'm not sure what's normal!!!???

    Thanks everybody!!
     
  13. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter


    Its what heads say to when anyone has the temerity to disagree with them, aka 'the arrogance of headship'
     
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    This remark would come under 'the arrogance of the over-generaliser', surely?
    Just how many heads have you heard say it? I've worked for 7 and never heard a single one say and it's certainly not an expression I'd ever use.
     

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