Paid Governors

(120 Posts)
NoComet Wed 27-Feb-13 14:59:13

Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw wants paid governors.

I am just the sort of non professional, parent governor he hates.
I put in many hours of my time for free, attending meetings, reading documents, understanding data. (Yes, I do understand the data) and attending trainings.

I have two DCs at the school and I care passionately about their education. I care that they make more than three levels of progress and get 5 A-C GCSEs.

I care that the school employs good staff and balances the books so it can continue to provide them.

But I also care about the buses, the lunches, the extracurricular activities, the concerts and the plays.

I care about the state of the buildings, the toilets and the decrepit boiler.

Some of these things have a direct financial implications and all of these things impact on pupils, and often, staff moral.

If you are cold, missed lunch because the queue was too long or you are getting bullied on the bus you are not going to concentrate in lessons.

If you find making friends difficult then choir or painting scenery for the play can make lunch time way more bearable.

If home life is difficult it may be far easier to talk to a teacher you've got to know well on a school trip, than your head of house.

Yes, the bottom line is achieving qualifications, but to do that you need pupils who feel safe and valued.

The most Outstanding teacher in the world can't deliver an Outstanding lesson to a pupil who is being bullied and refuses to come to school.

TheDailyWail Wed 27-Feb-13 17:14:23

You sound like a fantastic Governor NoComet. I agree with you.

AmandaCooper Wed 27-Feb-13 17:15:13

Personally I'd like to see the line management of heads removed from volunteers governors to salaried area managers. I think it's a lot to ask of local volunteers to properly hold head teachers to account. Area managers could hear appeals on staff grievances and disciplinaries as well. While there are a lot of very fine and capable governors, governing bodies vary greatly in terms of both competence and appetite for tackling more difficult issues.

Osmiornica Wed 27-Feb-13 17:18:53

"Paying a governing body will not improve a school - it's just a way to encourage privatisation of state education."

Totally agree with this. I don't know where these paid professional governors are supposed to come from. In ours there's already a mix of backgrounds and qualifications.
I also don't see where the money would come from. If direct from the school then does that mean the governing body decides who and how much to pay itself? If not then will that mean less money given to the schools for more important things. We're already trying to run the school on a shoestring.

Amphitrite Wed 27-Feb-13 17:23:13

I've been a governor for eight years and chair for two and over the years I have put in many hundreds of hours of unpaid work on behalf of the school. I am also a teacher (although not in the same school).
I completely agree with what NoComet and others have said on here. The people on our governing body are very hardworking and dedicated. We do it because we want our children and our community to have the best school possible, to get the best value for money possible and to leave the school as happy, well-rounded, well-educated. individuals. We do an excellent job (which was noted in our last Ofsted.) Payment would not help us do the job better nor would it attract a higher quality of candidate (rather the reverse I should think). Once again Wilshaw has shown himself incapable of understanding what motivates most people involved in education.

hermancakedestroyer Wed 27-Feb-13 17:37:30

Thank you Jennybeadle and Poledra for your comments. I will look into expenses policy. The problem is that everyone else on the GB have very well paid jobs and so don't feel the need to claim expenses. It terms of the induction training - it did not clarify whether or not to represent the parents.
Thank you I will ask the chair about further training. Am fairly new to this but don't feel very well supported by my GB! smile

hermancakedestroyer Wed 27-Feb-13 17:39:57

Good point AmandaCooper

HidingInTheHonsCupboard Wed 27-Feb-13 17:50:16

"Paying a governing body will not improve a school - it's just a way to encourage privatisation of state education."

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I should have thought that if the government decided to pay governors, then they would want to try to please their employers, who would be changing on a fairly regular basis. Wouldn't professionalising the governing body actually give more power to the government? Whereas now, don't they simply try to do the best for the school they're responsible for, and try to shield it from the cuts in funding, and benefit from the rises when they come?

As an aside, none of the people I know who serve on governing bodies of independent schools do so on anything other than a voluntary basis.

lainiekazan Wed 27-Feb-13 18:24:02

I can't see how paying people would improve the calibre of governor.

I have in my time come across some crap governors (usually parent governors who misunderstand the role and think they are there to talk about parking or have an axe to grind). These people will drift off at present, but if money is involved, then thoroughly unsuitable applicants might hang on for dear life.

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 18:31:56

I would definitely like to make sure that governorrs are not left out of pocket, because that puts off people who might need to pay for childcare or transport.

(I say this from experience. I was a governor at my DC's primary schools and the meetings were always 4-6pm, and I am a lone parent. There was no creche.)

So I think there should be some sort of attendance allowance.

Also, if governors had a training alllowance it would help them access quality training, at a time when LAs are slashing the free and subsidised training available centrally for budgetary reasons.

NUFC69 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:34:54

Paying governors seems like insanity to me - look what happened when we started to pay local councillors; they are now career politicians. A couple of years ago our local council (Northumberland) published how much they were paying councillors and the sums involved were staggering; I think that every councillor got over £10,000 and that didn't include expenses which should quite rightly be paid. Where would the money come from? I am quite sure that we would all rather the schools had the extra money. And I am pretty sure that the people who are already governors are totally committed in any case.

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 18:38:17

Quite a lot of councillors are also school governors and sit on the Boards of local charities and community groups.

lainiekazan Wed 27-Feb-13 18:50:43

Absolutely, nufc69.

The amount paid to councillors is a disgrace. Round here it is a (retirement) job for life and one that pays jolly well. Many councillors' interest and attendance is an outrage. In fact I have occasionally considered mounting a campaign to overhaul the system!

NoComet Wed 27-Feb-13 18:52:21

Thanks for the support. I don't object to travel expenses and child care costs, but actually paying governors strikes me as a very slippery slope.

I feel very fortunate that I escaped our preschool committee. The primary school had to hand over control just as DC left.

I know it is a very difficult job, they are part governors and part fundraising group. Given our pre school has 20 or 30 pupils the pool of parents is tiny and people are more or less forced to volunteer.

singingsoprano Wed 27-Feb-13 19:05:37

I agree with the OP, but perhaps expenses should be paid for travel etc.

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 19:05:39

Councillors used to get expenses only for attendance - literally, the 'attendance allowance'.

I think it moved to annual allowances (tax and NI payable) to save money because the other system was so cumbersome to administer; and there was also feeling that you needed to compensate people for missing out on paid work opportunties - some councillors easily do 25-30 hours a week - otherwise the councils would stay dominated by retired businessmen.

How many hours a week should a Chair of Governors put in? Line management, running a multi-million pound budget - sounds a bit heavy duty to me.

dayshiftdoris Wed 27-Feb-13 19:06:36

I have just become a Governor and I have to say that whilst I don't agree that payment is the answer that I do agree that the quality of the Governing body can have a direct impact upon a school.

There are lots of reason why I have volunteered as a Governor (I am actually a LA Governor for a school that I dont have children at) but one of those reason is that I saw first hand how a Governing body made up entirely of staff and parents damaged a school and affected the children within it.
The school was investigated as it was failing SEN pupils in the end but with a number of parents of the Governing body who openly felt that there were too many of 'those' kids in the school then it was no surprise.

We are now in a different school and one of the reasons I am not on there Governing body is that I lost the election by 1 vote after only a month in the school yard and so was asked to consider the LA position... however this would have meant that over 60% of the Governing body were parents and after I long chat with the Clark I declined the position.

In a good school this will never be an issue as they self-regulate well - my son's school have been more than open about their concerns and sort my opinion on their Governing body too... the school I am Governor for didnt know me from Adam and thus decided to interview before offering me the position. They are a religious school and I do not have a faith yet they see this as a positive not a negative.

Failing schools will continue to fail and paying their Governors will not motivate them to change but rather will pay them for being poor leaders. Rather when a school is not performing then the Governing body should be audited and a perhaps an LA Governor with experience should be co-opted on.

exoticfruits Wed 27-Feb-13 19:10:16

I can't see how paying people would improve the calibre of governor

I can't see that they would pay enough-or where the money is coming from. However, at the moment people put in an amazing amount to work for free and then get criticised for not being good enough!

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 19:20:04

I think that's why in my area lots of LA Governor appointments are councillors - because they are already receiving a remuneration, they feel it's the right thing for them to do. Or is it having the confidence to step forward?

I know of two Chairs of Governors who are CofE vicars - again, already on the 'social payroll' and willing (obliged?) to step forward.

Still masses of vacancies, though - and too many schools that aren't good enough.

snoworneahva Wed 27-Feb-13 19:33:30

I agree wholeheartedly with the OP education is about more than just numeracy and literacy and also agree with AmandaCooper regarding having something akin to an Area Manager to keep the Head in line.

Osmiornica Wed 27-Feb-13 19:37:40

Linerunner - we're allowed to claim expenses including childcare if needed. Have you asked? You shouldn't be out of pocket for volunteering.

" then they would want to try to please their employers, who would be changing on a fairly regular basis."
But I would be worried about them pleasing their employees at the expense of things not covered by Ofsted (presumably the way they'd judge success or failure of the governors).

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 19:43:01

Hi Osmiornica - I was last a governor a good few years ago, but two different Headteachers told me there were no expenses payable for childcare.

Do your expenses payments come from the school?

TeamEdward Wed 27-Feb-13 19:51:23

If a school is a church school, then a rep from the diocese will be on the GB. That's why so many vicars/deacons/vergers are on GBs.

Talkinpeace Wed 27-Feb-13 20:11:04

as somebody who deals with Parish Councils a lot,
the idea of a professional Clerk to the Governors
in charge of training, correspondence, elections and compliance is a MUCH better idea
as clerks could work for several schools - who would share the cost,
they are already paid,
and could have direct reporting lines for if things started to go pear shaped

Paying governors is unlikely to increase the quality of the governors and is likely to be very expensive. I have been a governor but am not one at the moment. I am a qualified professional in a field relevant to school governance and this was valuable to the school when I was a governor. The hourly rate that would be paid to governors would be nowhere near my hourly rate for my job so wouldn't be much of an incentive for me and would probably seem a bit insulting, where as doing it as a volunteer felt like a good deed in the community. Also a lot of governors devote a huge amount of time to it, particulary the chair. The cost of paying for those hours would be enormous.

LineRunner Wed 27-Feb-13 20:31:02

I don't think it could be afforded at jury service rates. Attendance allowance / expenses maybe.

But there are so many vacancies, and so many schools judged in need of improving - and like posters have said above, a GB of mostly staff and parents talking about parking isn't a good GB.

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