A view from the other side
This guest post from Sue Winson is for our ‘Governors Corner’ series:
Having retired in Sept 2017 after over 40 yrs in education and the last 21 as Headteacher in a variety of schools- I felt that I couldn’t just leave education but I wanted to still be informed and to support a school in some small way – hence the reason I became a governor, much to the amazement of many HT colleagues
Having completed a form that then was distributed to schools I was amazed to get a number of replies from both primary and secondary desperately seeking governors, I finally chose a fairly new school, with a keen, dedicated but realistic Headteacher. I looked forward to my first meeting, introductions made, the chair of governors then announced he was leaving as the role was too onerous with full time work, cut a long story short I was nominated as the new C of G ( at my first meeting!). I have to be honest it was a little daunting, I’d worked with a variety of governors and I knew the type I didn’t want to be, but I also knew that I had to be proactive, the school were expecting Ofsted, there were a few parental niggles and the governors although really keen were all fairly new and mostly parents – which in itself caused some issues mainly to do with confidentiality, however I was genuinely impressed with their desire to support the school and become as involved as their work commitments allowed them to be.
We started by working together to implement a governors action plan, we devised a programme where staff could present a variety of topics to governors and we also arranged training with other schools to keep costs as low as possible, whilst finalising budgets on less and less money.
I also had to meet with a couple of persistent parents who basically felt they could bully the HT with veiled threats.
Whilst I have always appreciated governors- I didn’t really realise just how much these volunteers gave of their time freely and willingly- It has taken a large amount of my time, the expectations on governors are huge where the responsibility can be overwhelming. It’s been a challenge – having also undergone an Ofsted with a positive outcome has made it worthwhile. I have also been asked to be C of G to a school in a category, which I am thinking about, my problem is I find it hard to say NO, but I also know that many schools struggle for governors – they are such an integral part of a successful school. It’s interesting, rewarding, can be frustrating and I’m not sure how sustainable the current system is, but unsure of an alternative. An experienced HT once asked me if a school would be run any differently if there were no governing body, the answer to that is I’m genuinely not sure- but for now I’ll carry on the best I can for the good of the school, like so many volunteer governors.
The author’s Twitter profile (@ballater6) says that she is a retired (sometimes)primary Headteacher but still passionate about education and opportunities for all. She is a Chair of Govs & loves anything food / travel/ book related.