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Secondary teacher as primary governor

Discussion in 'Governors' started by Trendy Art, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    I was looking at the forums and I couldn't find a similar thread, so thanks in advance for any responses.

    I'm thinking about becoming a governor at a primary. Partly because I am curious about the other side of the fence and would like to learn about how the structure of primary works to benefit students and volunteer my support.

    I recognise the distinction between being governor as a 'critical friend', that staff therein are responsible for running the school and putting aside any unconscious bias of my secondary experience unless specifically asked.

    So, my questions are before I commit (if given the opportunity):
    • What kind of timings, meetings, reading and potential commitments might I expect?
    • In addition, is there any issue with being a teacher in a secondary applying to govern in a primary? I once applied many years ago only to find the local authority stated that it was not possible at the time.
    • What should I be aware of, being an existing teacher, in meetings aside from what I have stated?
  2. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    At the absolute minimum four meetings a year (one per term + a budget setting meeting) more usually seven meetings (one every half term plus budget). Then it depends on how many Committees you sit on... we tend to tag ours onto the GB meeting. Reading, a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon before the meeting unless you are revising a major policy.

    There is no issue in you applying and there never has been... unfortunately there was a time when some Local Authorities took weird decisions that were not borne out by legislation.

    Just go to meetings with an open mind, your expertise will be welcomed. However be aware that primary schools are more open to visiting than secondary schools, will this make it difficult for you in your secondary role? Being a governor is about the bigger picture and the strategy for moving the school forward, I think you might find your eyes being opened about what happens but it will also read well on your CV as you get into more senior posts.
    Trendy Art likes this.
  3. staxis

    staxis New commenter

    I am a secondary school teacher and I was a governor at a primary school for a few years - chair of governors for a couple of them. It really is great experience but different from secondary. You will bring an experience of education to the governing body which should be very useful. Go for it!
    Trendy Art likes this.
  4. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Not sure why the LA should block you - unless you were a bankrupt. The rules are simple enough but your employer may be reluctant to be flexible in your timekeeping so that you can attend meetings.
    Being a governor in one of your feeder schools will give you a great 'heads-up' on your new intake and help with transition arrangements.
    Trendy Art likes this.
  5. sophrysyne

    sophrysyne New commenter

    I did it for a few years, but think I was a parent governor. But everyone knew I was a secondary teacher. Fascinating differences! Well worth doing.
    Trendy Art likes this.
  6. mbee1

    mbee1 Occasional commenter

    Go for it as I'm sure the GB would welcome your experience. I'm CoG with 16 years experience of being a Governor but my VC is an ex secondary teacher and LA LEO and knows Governance back to front and is always a mine of information. Does take up quite a bit of time though. One full meeting per term and I try to get that done within three hours but i know others that take much longer but, as Chair, I impress upon the members to read through all the documents beforehand so we don't waste time reading them at the meeting.

    We have two committees being Strategic Development & Curriculum (SD) and Finance & HR (FHR) and each committee usually meets once a half term. F&HR sometimes have to meet more often. Wherever possible we delegate as much to the committees as we can as a smaller group debating and approving stuff is much better than a larger group.

    You will also be asked to have an area of responsibility such as safeguarding Governor, SEND, Health & Safety etc. In addition we have small working parties each having a responsibility for an aspect of the SIP. We meet during the term and report back at the beginning of the following term to ensure that the targets have been met and that we have the evidence to support it. We then look at the targets for the following term and each small group looks at how they're going to monitor their particular aspect.

    We also encourage members to try and get into school during the day at least once a term. This isn't always easy for members who work full time and, even as Chair, I find it difficult. It's rewarding though but can be hard work.
    sophrysyne and Trendy Art like this.
  7. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    I wasn't insolvent thankfully!

    I've recently changed schools and, as you say, to get time off is a real problem.

    Thank you for the advice - it provides a great insight.
  8. shamsh

    shamsh Occasional commenter

    I was a secondary teacher and a parent governor at my children's primary school and absolutely loved it. Even though I still definitely much prefer teaching secondary to primary it helped my teaching as I had a better understanding of the style of learning at primary school and also learnt things about schools that I wasn't aware of even as a teacher and parent. Great CPD and lovely to be able to help out.
  9. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    Since last time I made several attempts but work got in the way.

    Just wanted to ask - can a secondary teacher be a secondary governor in another school?
  10. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    The answer is yes, but you would be a governor, not a 'secondary' governor.
    Pomza likes this.
  11. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    Thanks @nomad

    Clumsy tiredness! I meant can you be a secondary teacher in another secondary school's governing body or are there reasons that one can't?
    nomad likes this.
  12. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    There are no reasons at all why you should not be a governor at another secondary school. Nationally there is a serious shortage of school governors and ant school will be grateful for a governor with the right skills to join them. Bear in mind that it is generally legal and/or financial skills missing from the skills matrix, rather than educational expertise.
    Trendy Art likes this.
  13. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    Oddly enough, employers are legally required to give time off for "public duties" and governors' meetings are specifically mentioned in the Employment Act 1996, which delineates the duty.
  14. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Not strictly true, they are encouraged to give you time off but if it has a detrimental effect upon the business they do not have to do so.

    As I say to my GB, being a governor is a voluntary role. No one makes you do it, you do it because you want to. For the last 28 years I have used a week of my annual leave to undertake my duties. It is my choice, not my employer’s.

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