If you’re a new governor, particularly if you have had experience of working in schools before those first few meetings can be particularly daunting. Education can be like its own language sometimes that seems to take delight in describing the very simple through the most complicated collection of terms and acronyms possible.
With that in mind, here are five top tips to help you hit the ground running quickly as a new governor.
Having a mentor or a buddy who’se been on the governing body for some time can be really useful. It means you can ask them openly and honestly about how the governing body works and what the situation at the school is. Plus, it means if you have any questions you don’t have to ask them in front of the main governing body meeting.
You may be a parent governor and you feel you know your way around the school pretty well, but even then it’s a really valuable experience going in to school and chatting to the headteacher and members of staff, and perhaps sitting in on a few lessons as well. There’s no substitute for just seeing how the school works day to day. It’s worth bearing in mind that school often have a policy on govenor visits and it’s good practice to arrange the date and time of your visit with the head.
Most local authorities run good free training sessions for governors on all kinds of topics. It’s worth signing up for as many of these as you can realistically manage in the early stages. Firstly they’re great ways to learn quickly about some of the key issues you’ll be facing, but also they’re a great opportunity to meet and chat to governors from other schools. Plus you can often get free tea and biscuits!
The main governing body is where all the big decisions happen, but if you really want to affect things on a nuts and bolts level, this can only be done by joining some of the governing bodies committees. Plus some governing bodies allow you to be linked to a certain subject or area which allows you to specialise in a certain topic. This in particular can be very rewarding. You can go into school and spend some time seeing exactly how that area works and become this governing body’s expert on that topic.
There is loads of information for governors out there, and here is a far from exhaustive list
Do you have any more top tips? Let me know!