There are lots of ways in which you can donate expertise to your child's school, but one of the most important and responsible - and let's face it, one which involves the greatest commitment - is becoming a governor.
What do school governors do?
School governors are a team of people who work closely with the head teacher to make key decisions vital to the successful running of the school. The governors appoint the head teacher and make decisions that directly affect the education and well-being of the children. They play an important role in improving standards throughout the school and agree the school's budget. In other words, it's a very meaningful role!
How do I become a parent governor?
If your child attends a school, you can be elected as a parent governor by the parents. Schools organise these elections, and inform parents and staff about them. You can also become a governor by approaching the school to see if they will co-opt you or by asking the local authority, church or foundation if they would appoint you.
What do I have to offer?
As a parent governor, you can make a valuable contribution to the running of the school. You will be able to offer your enthusiasm and commitment - and as a parent, you'll understand other parents' concerns. Governors with business and management experience, or a host of other skills, can also offer extremely helpful expertise to the school.
What will I get out of it?
Being a school governor can be a rewarding experience. You'll be playing an important part in improving the children's education and supporting the school's staff, and giving a lot to the school and the community usually means you'll get a lot back. Being a governor is also an opportunity to develop new skills or practice existing ones that can help you in your day job, like chairing meetings, putting forward suggestions and asking the right questions, speaking in public, appointing staff, and helping other members who are new to the job or have less experience of committee work.
How much time does it take?
The time that governors are able to give to the role varies but there are certain things they must be in a position to do, so be aware:
- the governing body must meet at least once a term
- governors are probably asked to serve on at least one committee which will meet more often
- meetings are sometimes held during the working day and very often during the evening
- governors will have to prepare for meetings and there can be a lot of papers to read
- if you are not able to prepare for and attend meetings you will not be able to make an effective contribution.
If you think you'd like to investigate further, have a look at the weblinks, and contact the school.
Department for Education and Skills school governors centre
National Governors Council website
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