Being a Governor

At the end of this term I shall be standing down as a Governor at a local infant school. For 3 of those years I have been Chair. I have tried to work closely with the Headteacher as a critical friend. I have attended many, many meetings and met with the Head and/or Clerk to the Governors at least once a week and often more. I care wholeheartedly about the education the pupils are receiving. This is the exact reason every member of our governing body volunteered. We do all this in our own time for no financial reward. This is work to improve the education system on a not for profit basis. I like to think that we have played our part in helping to make the school such an outstanding place for the children to learn and all this at no cost at all to the taxpayer.

This week Michael Gove has called us “Local Worthies” after a “badge of honour” with which to pose around the High Street on Saturday and increase their social standing

This is an insult to all the work we all do. Michael Gove is out of order to make such an unfounded rude and nasty statement.

I ask him to completely retract the statement and apologise for his thoughtless and mean comments.

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7 thoughts on “Being a Governor

  1. Gove actually said;

    The need for better governance
    And there is another area where I need to drive reform faster.

    Governance.

    Good schools need good governors. And we have thousands of reasons to be grateful to those who give up so much time to help support school leaders in the work they do.

    It’s because governance matters so much that the difference between good and bad governance matters so much.

    We all know what good governance looks like.

    Smaller governing bodies, where people are there because they have a skill, not because they represent some political constituency. They concentrate on the essentials such as leadership, standards, teaching and behaviour. Their meetings are brief and focused; the papers they need to read are short, fact-packed and prepared in a timely way; they challenge the school leadership on results, and hold the leadership and themselves responsible for securing higher standards year on year – every year.

    And, all too sadly, we also know what bad governance looks like.

    A sprawling committee and proliferating sub-committees. Local worthies who see being a governor as a badge of status not a job of work. Discussions that ramble on about peripheral issues, influenced by fads and anecdote, not facts and analysis. A failure to be rigorous about performance. A failure to challenge heads forensically and also, when heads are doing a good job, support them authoritatively.

    We cannot have a 21st century education system with governance structures designed to suit 19th century parochial church councils.

    http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a00211347/fasnaspeech

    Profit isn’t bad: profit is a return on investment – profit is taking a wage rather than volunteering.

    And – not for profit state education has worked really well over the last 40 years – I mean no one is saying the system is broken are they?

  2. There has been quite a bit of comment on twitter this morning bout this topic. It has been said that I did not respond to the speech but to comments made about the speech. I did indeed first come across this from the Daily Telegraph. but I have also looked at this page which has the text of what was said. http://conservativehome.blogs.com/localgovernment/2012/07/michael-gove-has-not-attacked-school-governors.html

    I still believe the the aim of the speech was to challenge the volunteer nature of governors as something that is letting schools down. And I do not believe this is the case. Michael give did say what he thought made good and bad Governing Bodies.

    But there is no evidence for what he has said. He his running down people who have volunteered, very much in the spirit of the Big Society, to help out. How does he know there are people doing this for their own social status? Has there been a survey?

    I still want him to apologise for the slur he has placed on Governing bodies.

    • PS can you say with certainty there are no trophy collecting governors?

      I’ve met some on the 2 governing bodies I’ve served on.

    • Righteous indignation will achieve nothing – he was saying that good governance is too tough an ask for volunteers – he’s right – it can be done, but it’s not reasonable

      • And I will admit that being a governor in an academy is an even more onerous task. I would not want to do that. But he is not supporting volunteers here. He is running them down. His attitude is one of condemnation.

  3. http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/speeches/a00211347/fasnaspeech

    Governance.

    Good schools need good governors. And we have thousands of reasons to be grateful to those who give up so much time to help support school leaders in the work they do.

    It’s because governance matters so much that the difference between good and bad governance matters so much.

    We all know what good governance looks like.

    Smaller governing bodies, where people are there because they have a skill, not because they represent some political constituency. They concentrate on the essentials such as leadership, standards, teaching and behaviour. Their meetings are brief and focused; the papers they need to read are short, fact-packed and prepared in a timely way; they challenge the school leadership on results, and hold the leadership and themselves responsible for securing higher standards year on year – every year.

    And, all too sadly, we also know what bad governance looks like.

    A sprawling committee and proliferating sub-committees. Local worthies who see being a governor as a badge of status not a job of work. Discussions that ramble on about peripheral issues, influenced by fads and anecdote, not facts and analysis. A failure to be rigorous about performance. A failure to challenge heads forensically and also, when heads are doing a good job, support them authoritatively.

    We cannot have a 21st century education system with governance structures designed to suit 19th century parochial church councils.

    Profit is ok – provided outcomes are good. If you take a wage you are taking a profit – you invest time & expect to be paid – others invest money and expect to be paid.

  4. […] as people once again launched into full moral indignation mode and rage at Gove for having cast a slur upon the good character of all school […]

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