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To think that the school governing body should have a proper communication system?

(14 Posts)
Mishap Fri 25-Jan-13 21:08:42

Life has been a bit difficult lately and I just wanted to sound people out as to whether my concern is valid or whether life is getting on top of me!

I am on the governing body of a small village school and last term we took a momentous decision about the future of the school - we agonised, discussed and researched the decision for several months.

I have been waiting to hear from the chair as to when and how this decision might be conveyed to the parents and how we might take steps to reassure them and discuss the background to it.

Today I received the school weekly newsletter as normal and in it was an announcement about the decision from the HT, a statement that parents have had a letter tonight from the chair of governors about it, and also giving the date of a meeting with the parents to discuss this.

Nothing has been said to the other governors; we have had no opprtunity to discuss how the letter to parents might be worded; we have not been invited to indicate dates for a meeting with the parents that might suit us - indeed we have not even been invited to that meeting!

I have sent an email to the chair saying that I think these things should have been discussed with us all and also that we need to set up a proper communication system for the governing body so that everyone knows what is going on and has an opportunity to make their views known.

Am I just being crabby or does this seem out of order to anyone else?

Elegran Fri 25-Jan-13 21:24:23

You are right, mishap. How can you be considered part of a governing body when you are not even invited to a meeting at which your decision will very likely be hotly discussed. Does the Chair of the governers mean to face the barrage of questions alone, when other people probably have as much if not more information about all the factors which went into the decision? I would have thought your presence would be valuable for support, at least.

Lines of communication should be clear, and automatically followed.

What do the other members think?

york46 Fri 25-Jan-13 21:30:03

You are absolutely right to feel as you do, Mishap, and I'm quite sure your fellow Governors will also feel that this has been handled in a high-handed way by the Chair. Not least because, as a Governor, you could well be contacted by a parent wishing to discuss their concerns and had you not received the newsletter before the parents received their letters, you could have been put in a very difficult position.

annodomini Fri 25-Jan-13 21:40:39

That's totally out of order. Neither of the governing bodies I have served on would dream of behaving like that. We would have called an extra meeting to discuss such an important issue and taken a vote of governors before a letter was written to parents. If it was impossible to call a meeting, we would have sent a draft of the letter to all governors and asked for approval or suggested improvements.

Ariadne Fri 25-Jan-13 21:46:36

That is dreadful! You are obviously dealing with someone who has no idea of protocol, or even sheer courtesy, and it needs sorting out. Clearly someone has ideas of status beyond reality!

Mishap Fri 25-Jan-13 21:49:43

Thank you for this - I knew there would be other people out there with school governor experience who could advise. I feel more confident now to tackle this issue.

I would have expected to receive a draft of the letter before it went out to parents.

I think the problem is that this is a small community and it is difficult to find governors for the school. The chair is a native of the village and has been the chair since the year dot - he just ploughs his own furrow (or often does nothing when he should be doing something!) and it is difficult to bring him up to date. He is a pleasant fellow with no malice in him, and I am sure that he will be taken aback by my email to him as he would simply not have thought about it, but maybe I need to persevere and try and get some proper systems on the go. And to challenge the old attitudes.

Movedalot Fri 25-Jan-13 22:14:08

That is dreadful Mishap he is just riding rough shod over you and the otherr governors. You did right to email him. However nice the man is he should understand that you are a committee and he does not have the right to do things without consultation.

Please let us know how this plays out.

MiceElf Fri 25-Jan-13 22:39:33

You need to contact Governors' Support at the LEA and explain your concerns. They should deal with it.

grannyactivist Sat 26-Jan-13 00:07:29

Mishap I am not easily angered, but I would have been very cross in your shoes. It's unprofessional and unhelpful not to have agreed a unified response from the Governors.

MiceElf Sat 26-Jan-13 08:23:41

Mishap, you should have a large tome from the Department for Education about the procedures for the conduct of Governing Bodies. If these have not been followed, and clearly they have not, then your best course of action is to involve the LEA as I said above. There is an officer with responsibility for school governors who will be able to intervene. Who is the Clerk to the Governors? That person should also never have allowed this course of behaviour to take place.

Bags Sat 26-Jan-13 09:10:16

Agreed on all points. Keep at it, mishap, and good luck.

granjura Sat 26-Jan-13 09:47:25

You are quite right in being incensed. When I was on the Governing body of my school (as Senior teacher) - I was amazed at the amount of things decided between the Head and the Chair without any discussion with the board and then presented as a 'fait accompli'. It created a lot of tension, and when I complained on behalf of the staff, the Head attempted to blackmail me on several occasions. Good on you for making your points heard and insisting that the Board is kept in the frame.

Mishap Fri 01-Feb-13 14:20:29


Chair has not deigned to reply to several emails I have sent him.

Copying in to the rest of the govs resulted in them all saying that we had to leave it to the professionals to make the decisions about these things.

The major decision that the governors had taken was about how the school should be managed in the future and was taken by the governors alone and had nothing to do with the teaching staff. The way that this decision should be conveyed to the parents and arrangements for the meeting with parents were organised by the head and the Governors' chair - governors were left to find this out by default. The meeting was arranged to suit the teachers.

The idea that the governors should be a strong and visible presence to explain the reasoning behind the decision to the parents seems to have passed everyone by.

Now clearly it is important that the teachers should be there; but not to even mention it to the governors (who are the people who took the decision) is in my book out of order. But I have got no backup from the rest of the governors - I suspect that they are just very busy people and want anything for a quiet life.

Heyho! Clearly I am just a pain in the a**s!

Granoveve Sat 02-Feb-13 23:23:41

I am sorry you are having to deal with this but it goes on in many schools.
>The major decision that the governors had taken was about how the school should be managed in the future and was taken by the governors alone and had nothing to do with the teaching staff.<

I just wondered about this.
Do you not have staff governors? One of the first things I learnt as a staff governor was that Teacher governors and non teaching staff governors have the same rights to know, comment and be consulted as the Lea, Coopted, Community and Parent governors.