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Is it time to pay school governors?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    How would you feel if the chair of your school’s governing board was given a salary? Do you think they deserve it? What sort of message would it send to other members of the board, the headteacher and the rest of the school staff?

    It might sound like a pie in the sky idea but the suggestion of paying governors has been made in a new report.

    The report outlines that governors should be acknowledged and remunerated for the contribution they make, and the introduction of a salary may even lead to improving the quality and diversity of governing bodies.


    But what do you think of the suggestion?
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    It's stupid.
    Schoolcoachguru likes this.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Yes it is.
  4. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I think the role has, as have ALL roles in schools, rapidly expanded since it's conception. I know some chairs of governors who put in some 20-30 hours a week… and to be honest, as a voluntary job that's a big ask.

    Maybe a salary would attract folk wishing to take a sabbatical or break from their careers.. and perhaps give a broader folk an insight into teaching and the running of schools.
    harsh-but-fair likes this.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    As soon as governing commands any kind of wage then we'll see the usual ridiculous justifications for inflated figures e.g. 'We have to pay them the best wages of leave the country to govern competitor schools in Switzerland/Singapore/Swaziland'. They'll start calling themselves 'wealth creators'. Mark my words.
    Scintillant likes this.
  6. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    This isn't what happens to teachers though…?
  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    It's beyond stupid
  8. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    One of the strengths of the British way of doing things has always been the vision of public service. Magistrates, charity trustees, school governors, councillors, Special police officers giving their time and skills to their communities. Of course some of that doesn't work fully: we now pay MPs and councillors, for example. But for many MPs the salary they get in Parliament is a fraction of their potential earnings outside. So on these grounds I'd be against.
    Some governors will have to put in many hours and if this prevents some individuals from volunteering as it would mean that their earnings were reduced, that is a problem and will reduce the pool of able and willing potential governors. So - arguing for the "pro" lobby - how much should be paid? A small honorarium wouldn't fulfill this need: you would need to pay at or about their hourly rate of pay. 20 hours per week for a Chairman at even £25/hour would be a big hit to school budgets, especially when you add the extra costs of NI, pension and so on. I've been lucky enough to work in schools where some very high-flying professionals and business people have served as governors and I can't imagine any school being able to pay them at their normal rate. At the other end of the scale where is our tiny village school of under 40 children going to find any pay for Governors?
    So my judgement is that Governors should remain unpaid. It might be possible to find ways of getting employers to help their employees become Governors - some ideas might come from the way that employers with Reserve Forces employees are dealt with.
  9. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    I think it's probably not the right time to be paying governors, but I do think governors should be offered more in the way of expenses.
  10. Saf114

    Saf114 New commenter

    I do not agree with paying governors, as that would change the nature of the role. Also, it would take a very skillful governor to critically challenge the person who pays them...
    I see governors as advocates for the students, which means you would need to genuinely care for their progress and well-being - enough to give your time without payment. For those who are well paid outside of governance, I doubt schools would be able to pay them market rate, and the 'giving something back' is a very important to many. Those who are not as well paid or climbing in their career are often able to add governance to their cvs and it enhances their career prospects.
    However, I believe practical considerations should be addressed, e.g. paying expenses, and maybe a similar system as for jury service could be set up whereby employers are required to release staff for governor work (an agreed amount of time). In my experience, release from work is not a barrier to being a governor, it is having time to read all the documents and fulfill a bigger role outside attending meetings. Schools could help with this by streamlining the documentation
    scattykatty and harsh-but-fair like this.
  11. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Just to extend this discussion…

    Do folk think the fact that most clerks to the governors are paid is acceptable?
  12. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Some employers do release staff for governor duties, so far as I am aware. Yes, the role is voluntary, but many voluntary roles pay expenses and I think that would be reasonable.

    If you are a governor in employment, then the payment aspect is less of an issue. If you are retired, it can be expensive in travelling expenses etc to take up the role and people could be put off applying in that case.

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