Governing Bodies in my opinion are often the unsung heroes in a school. From what I can see very little is written about them and the valuable role they perform. These people are unpaid volunteers from all different walks of life and they give up their time because they care deeply about children and education.
The DfE has produced a Governors’ Handbook for Governors in maintained schools, academies and free schools which sets out their core function. Their role includes overseeing finances, holding the Head teacher to account, promoting the well being of pupils and helping to set the strategic direction of the school. This is what they are required to do, many do far more.
It is good practise for all schools to have a SEN Governor to push the issues regarding children with additional needs. We have 12 Governors and I am proud to say that all are well versed in the needs of our children. Every single governor has the best interest of our children in their heart. I’m aware that all governors are dedicated but ours really do go that extra mile.
As you all know there are four strands which Ofsted Inspectors report on. They are achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and learning, the behaviour and safety of pupils and the leadership and management of the school. Four of our governors have volunteered to work with the SLT and be jointly responsible for each of these areas. I won’t go in to details of all our governors, but I will mention these four who despite being incredibly busy people give up much of their time to our school.
First up is the Chair of Governors who is our Safeguarding Governor. This is a role she takes very seriously and regularly holds meetings to check that all documents are in place and that everything is as it should be. The Chair attends interviews for new staff whenever she can possibly make it. She has also completed staff training when it became apparent that some staff had very little experience with interviews. Up stepped the Chair person and ran whole school training for us. She also provides work experience opportunities at her own business for some of our older students. This is a valuable learning experience for our students which they often can’t get elsewhere due to their additional needs.
Our Vice Chair is another dedicated lady. She has undertaken the role of overseeing Pupil Premium. This is a huge responsibility as large amounts of money have to be accounted for and spent in ways that enhance the learning of the children. This lady is also part of the Local Authority Budget Working Group as she is so highly regarded. Her role is also to oversee the teaching and learning strand for school improvement. Interviews are her speciality. She has helped to employ several support staff and two teachers. When Ofsted visited us earlier this year she came in to school to give support to myself and my colleague in the absence of our Head teacher.
A further governor I will mention is one who is jointly responsible for health and safety and behaviour. She spends a great deal of time in school doing zone checks and health and safety checks. This lady also jointly taught with me for a whole year and her input was invaluable to me and the students. She also stepped in for the office manager when she was absent due to ill health. This lady also helps out with interviews whenever possible.
The last governor I will mention is, like the others, a truly amazing person. She gives up one day per week to oversee the new building. She has her own construction business and a background in civil engineering. You can imagine how helpful her expertise has been to our HT. The two of them go off each week wearing their builders’ boots and hard hats to discuss drains and pipes and lights etc for our new school. On a different note, this lady is also a member of the Head Teacher’s Performance Management Committee and therefore reviews our own HT’s performance management. She also drives the school mini bus and will help out with trips if needed. This week saw her in the cookery room making bacon butties for the whole school, staff and children!
There are some things our governors all do which I think makes them into extra special people. For example they have all completed joint lesson observations with our teachers. They found this to be a valuable learning experience and one which they thoroughly enjoyed. It gave them a better insight in to the challenges faced by teachers. They all attend our various fund raising activities, even if it is during the day. Also, there is rarely a week goes by without at least one of the governors visiting school. They are truly a part of the school community. They pop in at any time and lend a hand or give support and we welcome them as they are so valued. I should also add that our governors have travelled the length and breadth of the country viewing new schools to gather information to ensure that our new school is the best it can be.
Over the years, Blackpool has been the subject of several Special Needs reviews. Each and every time this happens our governors come out in force to protect the interests of our children and to support the school. This is to their credit as they are hard working people in their own right. As a governing body they never ever stand still. They continually strive to achieve the best outcomes for our children. They are all fully informed about school life and they ask challenging questions when required to do so. As a school we couldn’t ask for a harder working, more dedicated team. Our Governors certainly do over and above and contribute fully to our ‘Outstanding’ status.