Monday, 29 September 2014

Blog Exclusive: The Parent Governor Interview

We currently have two Parent Governor vacancies on the Board of Governors. In this interview I chat to current Parent Governor Joanne Russell about the challenges and rewards of governance. 

GD: Hi Joanne, please tell us a little about yourself:

JR: I am self-employed running a small beauty business from my home. I have 3 sons, the older 2 attended Matravers a few years ago and my youngest has just started Year 9.

GD: What made you want to become a governor, and when did you join the board?

JR: I joined Matravers Governors as a Parent Governor in June 2013. Since my youngest son had joined Matravers there had been a lot of changes and I knew, with a new Head Teacher starting there would be a lot more. I’d had many conversations with friends and other parents and generally we all seemed to be discussing the same subjects. A letter was sent out asking for Governors and I decided that this would be a good opportunity for me to understand and discuss issues and be a voice for other parents.

GD: What is the role of the Board of Governors?

JR: The Board of Governors takes responsibility for the conduct of the school. It promotes high standards of educational achievement in order to ensure that every student exceeds their potential. Our ambition is for Matravers School to become a world class education facility at the heart of the Westbury area community for students aged 11-18. In addition the board has legal ownership of the school site (land and buildings) and acts as the employer of school staff.

The Core Functions of Governance are:
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
That may sound very daunting but this is done as a team and we work together.

GD: What have you found most challenging about governance?

JR: For me, the most challenging thing about Governance is understanding data! I am getting there but it does not come naturally!

GD: What have you found most rewarding about governance?

JR: Before becoming a governor I didn’t really understand what the role of the Governing Board was, I have a good understanding now, but more importantly I’ve learned that they are a group of ‘ordinary’ people who care passionately about the success of Matravers and the children that attend it.

GD: What skills have you learned from being a governor that have helped you in other areas of your life?

JR: I now have a broader view of the education system and some of the challenges faced with running a school, I was probably quite narrow minded with my views on certain issues prior to becoming a Governor.

GD: How does being a parent impact on your approach to governance?

JR: I think being a Governor and having a child that currently attends Matravers is a great benefit. I am listening to feedback from my child regarding things that are going on at the school, I have the benefit of talking to other parents and being able to feedback not only concerns but also positivity to the Governing Board.

GD: What would you say to encourage other parents join the Governing Board?

JR: There is often a lot of talk between parents and also in the community about Matravers, people are often very passionate with their views whether they are positive or negative. Put this passion to good use and consider being a Governor and joining the Governing Board, where issues can be dealt with constructively.

GD: Thanks for that, Joanne. For more information on becoming Parent Governor and how to apply see the Governor page of the school website, here