Being a Governor

Being a Governor

Western Morning News. As published: 12 November 2013

As an Education Solicitor, I have attended my fair share of Governing Body meetings. I usually appear top of the agenda so that ‘normal’ school discussions can resume once I have disappeared. However, on those occasions where I appeared elsewhere, I quickly realised how important it was to understand things from the other side.

I became a Governor of a large Primary School in Walthamstow and recently took part in the Ofsted inspection. Under the new framework, Governors are questioned by Inspectors to ensure that the School’s decision making body works effectively. Too many times I have been faced with comments that Ofsted should only meet with the Head and the Chair because they know the most about the School. I whole heartedly disagree – for me; the experience has shown that it’s not about how long you have served as a Governor or how much you know about the history of the school. It’s about how the school operates now, the current vision and ethos, how the children are getting on, what works well on the ground and indeed what doesn’t.

So what was it like? Was it scary? Not really, no. And a large part of this was simply down to the fact that I knew the answers to those questions. I know that the ethos of the school is to develop children to enable them to become successful, lifelong learners; I know that leadership is outstanding; I know that we struggle with high levels of mobility and children on free school meals but I also know how these barriers are being let down.

So, for those Governors out there worried about the O word and being invited in for questioning, just know your School.