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The governor's blog: Why heads need friends, not critics

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Governors in English state schools are but a joke.

    Perpetrated by the politicos:

    • At the expense of the pupils.
    • Of the parents/ electors.
    • And of the teachers. Of course.

    A pathetic attempt to ape the structures of real schools like the private schools and the public schools which have always cut the national schooling mustard.

    As long as England is England, however, I fear that such pernicious structures are extremely unlikely to be abolished as they should be.

    Do French state schools pretend that the local butcher, baker and candlestick maker should be telling the teachers what to teach and how to teach it? Sacré bleu, mes petits choux.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    In 30 odd years, I never found out what went on in Governors meetings.
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes - but far too often that isn't what happens.

    @TES_Rosaline it would be interesting to see what heads say, post also on Headteacher forum?

    I'm sure they don't in France, but English governors don't tell teachers how to teach either.

  5. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    In my years as a governor i always found then supportive of the head and the school.......One of the roles of governors is to protect the head and fend off unjust criticisms.yet he is answerable to them far more now than before. wouldn't say they are ineffective,,,,but they do have t strike a balance particularly as they have the responsibility of the school
  6. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    I hope you're not going to repeat that "professionals make the professional decisions" soundbite here.

    Who, pray tell me will, sack you when the governors decide you are an incompetent teacher? And how will they know?

    Because the head told them???

    My elbow!
  7. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Of whom?

    Of bog-standard classroom teachers?

    You're joking me.
  8. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    I'm not sure the relationship should or could be described as "friendship"
    A partnership or team relationship is far nearer and more appropriate.

    It's a professional relationship (or should be) with sometimes differing objectives and requirements but should be amicable and mutually supportive where that can happen. Or for as long as it can.

    Mind you I have never been a Head :)
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    What a sad state of affairs where some teachers read between the lines and come to the wrong conclusions about their governing body, how it operates and what its objectives are. I am sure many heads/chairs would allow observation by teachers in many meetings and put Part A minutes on shared electronic notice boards etc to make things more transparent.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Soundbite? Never heard the expression before. I agree with you though, "professionals make the professional decisions", not governors. Your soundbite is rather vague though. Doesn't really help anyone know what decisions are "professional decision" and which aren't. Is appointing the headteacher a "professional decision"?
  11. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    "Is appointing the headteacher a "professional decision"? "

    Patently so.

    Yet the governors make the decision in English state schools.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    So who should select the headteacher in English state schools?
  13. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    Teaching professionals.

    For instance:
    • The LEA (as was) professional staff
    • The school teaching staff
    • A combination of the above two
    • Some other professional decision making body
    Guess which of the above is my preferred choice?

    (Not including, under any circumstances whatsoever:
    • the butcher
    • the baker
    • the candlestick maker)
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'd never have guessed from your posts that you were a Maoist or advocate of Workers Collectives. How very 1970s.

    That'll be the senior officers selected and appointed by Councillors will it? Councillors, the, erm, local butcher, baker and candlestick maker?

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
    Didactylos4 likes this.
  15. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Yes, most of them are there for one of two reasons. They either have a kid at the school, and want to gain an advantage, or they are polishing their CV. Most of the time they simply rubber stamp the head's decrees.

    As for heads needing friends, it's much easier to make friends if you are decent and honest: qualities sadly lacking in far too many heads.
  16. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi @Rott Weiler Thank you for your suggestion. I'll post the question in the forum.
  17. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    I am rather glad you only said "most"

    I was a governor for over 20 years and I can't actually remember a single occasion where we simply rubber-stamped a head's decrees.
    Everything was discussed, some of it was argued about and quite a few things led to "full and frank exchanges of view" :D
  18. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

    If it enhances the status of classroom professionals then "I'm all for it"; with or without my Little Red Book in hand.

    I bet, incidentally,that they don't have English style school governors in the People's Republic.

    Just as they are prominent by their absence en La Belle France !

    Germany ? Poland? Spain(*)? Italy ?
    (*) Where I know that the staff do in fact elect the head.

    And weren't the 1970s the era of sensible trade unionism? Of the Social Contract ? Of Joe Gormley?


    But at least it would greatly reduce the bungling day to day imposition of the whims of amateurs in so many spheres in the functioning of English state schools.
  19. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    So that'll be why the head of the Spanish teachers union says 'there is a lack of motivation among Spanish teachers partly because teaching isn't deemed a professional career, with the social and financial benefits that it brings in other European countries'? And why Spain has almost the lowest PISA ranking in western Europe?

    Worked well for them hasn't it
  20. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Then I commend you, and I hope that when the majority of governors wished to take a different tack they imposed it on the head. What governors need to remember is that they are the bosses of the head.

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