1. Be professional. Governors are the employers in law and the Strategic Leaders. We hold Leaders to account and we can only do this by asking questions. But remember to be respectful!
2. Be strategic and not operational. Governors are ‘Eyes on, Hands off’. Our Headteachers run the Schools day to day and Governors are just there to steer the ship towards the strategic direction.
3. Commit time. Being a Governor does mean a time commitment. Whether that be in pre-reading before meetings, attending meetings, visiting our school or analysing reports, be prepared to commit the time necessary to make a difference to the lives of children.
4. Remember the Vision. It is easy to become embroiled in day to day issues, but the role of the Governor is to set the strategic direction for the school.
5. Visit your school. Talking to pupils and staff is an ideal way to get to know your school. But you are there to learn about your School and so if you are in a lesson, don’t make any judgements, be there to observe only. Good advice is not to take any notes when you are in a lesson as this could be uncomfortable for the Teacher.
6. Engage with key stakeholders. We need to understand the views of all key stakeholders, those who have an interest in our School. This could be the pupils, parents or carers, staff, the Local Authority, Ofsted, etc. Be prepared to understand their views and consider how you will do this.
7. Manage conflicts of interest. As Governors, we commit to working selflessly for the best interests of the children in our School and any conflicts of interest need to be declared and managed.
8. Use your experience and skills. It is likely that you have been recruited because of your specific skills so don’t be afraid to utilise those skills. But remember the divide between strategic and operational.
9. Monitor and evaluate. Every decision that is taken needs to have an impact on the outcomes of children. We need to ensure best value and financial probity so keep the question “So What?” in mind at all times.
10. Make a Difference! Our children spend such little time with us and every week, month, term and year is a huge amount of time in their young lives. So make sure they get the best educational experience possible.
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