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How can we diversify governing bodies?

Discussion in 'Governors' started by hayleymgardner, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. hayleymgardner

    hayleymgardner New commenter

    Good evening,

    I am a qualified primary school teacher but am currently taking some time out to complete a masters degree.

    I am involved in a project looking at strategies to diversify school governing bodies (across all age ranges). Primarily, this concerns inclusion of more black, asian, ethnic minorities (BAME), and youth in school governing bodies.

    I have sent out a questionnaire to governors but have had 0 replies. I just wondered if anybody within this community has any experience within a school governing body?

    If so, what do you think are the barriers to inclusion of BAME and youth?

    I would be grateful for any input on this subject.


  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You might want to contact the NGA (National Governance Association). I recall they have done/are doing some work on this.
    Pomza and hayleymgardner like this.
  3. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    They've got more sense ...
    Pomza, hayleymgardner and Jesmond12 like this.
  4. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Have you ever been to a governors' meeting? If not, I would strongly suggest that you ask to attend a meeting as an observer - it will give you invaluable insight into what goes on and may also give you some clues as to why it's increasingly difficult to persuade any members of the local community to join governing bodies.
  5. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    I doubt most schools would have a governing body if it were not a legal requirement. Inclusion is not much of an issue when you are mostly just spoonfed data and asked to sign off policies that are almost the same as other schools. Governors are mostly invited to do more interesting stuff if it might look good at the next Ofsted inspection which may carry more weight if there is a good mix of gender, race, colours etc , but currently Ofsted do not seem to be very interested in that aspect.
    FYI I know one black chair and one who had a tracheostomy ( no larynx).
    hayleymgardner likes this.
  6. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Of course a Local Governing Body for a school in a MAT is a whole different kettle of fish. They are usually stripped of any need for financial oversight or decision making about staffing. The Trust probably views them as an early warning system (spies) because they are supposed to act solely in the best interests of the school and reliably whistleblow if needed.
    Maybe I have a slightly twisted view of reality ? Nah.
    hayleymgardner likes this.
  7. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Why volunteer for something only to possibly be criticised and ripped to shreds by Ofsted?
  8. hayleymgardner

    hayleymgardner New commenter

    I appreciate all the comments so far. It's helping me to build up a clearer picture of governing bodies, and more specifically the issues faced by governing bodies.
    Lalad likes this.
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Naivety ? A belief that they can exert some influence over the decision making process ( hence the Birmingham trojan horse fiasco ).
  10. ABCCBA123321

    ABCCBA123321 Occasional commenter

    From someone who's been carrying around their resignation letter in their bag for the last fortnight debating whether to hand it in or not as a governor...

    Attitudes have a hell of a role to play in it. I'm a parent governor - a role I know isn't particularly loved within education anyway, and I come from an education background - and the inward eye rolls and gritted teeth from the chair in particular when I expressed an interest in standing and he saw me immediately as a "PTA mummy type" (I make a lousy cup of tea - you wouldn't want me in charge of a tea urn) and blatantly didn't want me around. At the same meeting to drum up interest a youngish junior manager type man walked in and the chair in particular couldn't jump to welcome him enough. It's gone on and on (part of the reason I'm dithering over resigning is I don't see why I should be pushed out because my face doesn't fit in quite a misogynistic setting and I'm stubborn) like this - takes quite a strong person to withstand that kind of negative conception. Incidentally I'm one of the handful who works my absolute backside off for the school as it turns out!

    I don't think governance is at all easily accessible - the framework within which it operates is very complex and education is jargon filled anyway if you're not used to it - and if you're not a confident person from a certain background - the tone of some of the meetings can be quite intimidating to get used to. I dithered for about a good year before I decided to stand and made sure I was going into it fully informed - but I still think that there are people who do view me just as an interfering mummy and would love me to be pushed out (I'm actually one of the sharpest people in the room - just preconceptions count).

    And yes, I think the idea of being questioned by Ofsted puts many off as well - plus parent governors and that particular tightrope to walk avoiding becoming a one-stop whining shop on the playground and the fear of having to put your child's interests on the line over those of the school.

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