Governance by NGN’s Jill Wilson

Governorship and more I have been a governor for a long time and seen many changes, some good and some not so good! Yes, there really was a time before National Curriculum and OFSTED!

I have always enjoyed being a part of a school community and hoping that in some small part I can contribute to improvement. My own children received a very good sound all-round education and I feel strongly that every child is entitled to this.

Very soon after first becoming a governor I quickly realised that, like children, all schools are different with their own strengths and weaknesses. Being a governor means recognising this and helping your school celebrate its strengths and work hard to minimise its weaknesses. My way of doing this has been to find out how other schools work. Way back in the dark ages school governors began to form their own little groups and this has since expanded to form the present NGN. Here governors from all types and sectors of schools can get together to discuss ideas and problems, some will only affect a few schools but some will affect many. Getting this bigger picture helps me to take back ideas and information to my own governing boards. Yes this does involve a time commitment but have you ever considered asking to observe a governors meeting at a school near you, or a fellow MAT school? See how they work, are there ideas you can take back? Currently that could be to see the way a collapsed committee system works.

NGN also has links to the LA and can be used as a voice for Governors across the county. My own interests include SEND and being part of a large multi-agency group of people producing the latest SEND Strategy for Norfolk has been a real highlight. Seeing how all the different agencies and factors interlink and feed into each other has been an education in itself and one of the real pluses I have taken out of that work is that every single person and representative there put the child/young person at the centre of their thinking. During COVID there has been close collaboration between Educate Norfolk, NGN and the LA to ensure all views are heard.

Another way I have expanded my Governing experience is to train and sit on Admission Appeals and Independent Review Panels. Again really interesting work and I have seen at first hand how scrupulously fair these hearings are ensuring all sides are put at ease and have the opportunity to present all the evidence they need.

So, if you are a new Governor, I might say be careful because you could get sucked in like me and still be around many years later trying to do your bit for your school! At times it may be frustrating and there may well be setbacks but the very best part is talking to the pupils and hearing them enthuse about their latest topic, good work certificate, sports achievement, new playground markings and even that they had pizza for lunch.

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