Friday, 25 October 2013

Money can't buy you Govs

School governors don't always get a good press. Ofsted head honcho Sir Michael Wilshaw recently complained, "In the worst cases, governors can be rather like the jury that was dismissed from a high-profile trial the other week: ill-informed and not able to make good decisions." Nice. Thanks for that, Sir Michael. The Chief Inspector of Schools floated the idea that paying governors might be one way of raising standards of school governance, a suggestion rejected by the National Governors' Association.

Professionalising governance may be more of a hindrance than a help. The fact that governors have nothing to lose financially and career-wise can give them the courage they need to hold senior leaders to account. Currently they don't have to worry that rocking the boat might deprive them of a nice little earner. 

But amateur doesn't have to mean amateurish. Most governors volunteer for the role to try and make a difference in the life of their local school and take governance seriously  Some have a background in education, others, like me, do not. When the latter is the case, newly appointed governors will find themselves on a steep learning curve. They'll sometimes feel that they are drowning in an Alphabetti Sphagetti of acronyms; CPD, ECM, TLR, SLT, BANG. I made the last one up. It means 'Baffled by Acronyms New Governor'. But as you get stuck in things slowly begin to make sense. Attending training courses helps to further clarify matters. 

Being a governor is a challenging and rewarding task. Hands-on governance takes time and won't make you any richer, but there are rewards that can't be measured in pounds, shillings and pence. Playing a part in helping to create a school where every student matters and all are able to achieve their full educational potential is one of them. 

Have a great half term break!