Are you a primary school governor? A very simple question...

(99 Posts)
Wigeon Fri 08-Mar-13 13:14:47

...does the school provide tea and coffee for free at governor meetings (full meetings and sub-committees)?

pooka Sat 09-Mar-13 09:35:07

Biscuits on plate oink middle of table. Never eaten. Assume they are then carefully packed away for another time. smile

If we want tea or coffee we can make ourselves. I tend not to. Meeting is in staff room so would rather not deplete staff tea and coffee supplies. Can help selves to water too. No one serving us - appropriate IMO. Meeting only 2hrs max. Not too ling to survive.

NotWilliamBoyd Sat 09-Mar-13 09:47:24

I am a parent governor. We are offered tea/coffee/water at our meetings, and have an informal rota of one of the governors bringing in something to eat - not preplanned but seems to work out, we have had too much homemade cake at a meeting before (we coped!) but luckily never had no cake or biscuits, fruit or whatever. As most of our meetings revolve around how to manage with not enough money in the budget, I would really struggle to sit
there being catered for at the school's expense whilst discussing it! I think we all quietly stick some money into the staff tea/coffee fund jar every year.

Littlefish Sat 09-Mar-13 16:02:57

Feenie - we have a fab new chair of govs who is now asking for all items of AOB to be forwarded to him in advance to avoid exactly the scenario you talked about.

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 09-Mar-13 16:11:16

Tea, coffee and biscuits at our full governing body meetings as they do on for a few hours. Would be cross if they made for sandwiches as i'd rather school monies we spent on books etc.

Rabbitstew, we dont have a governors raffle and its free to park so being a governor costs nothing more than our time.

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Sat 09-Mar-13 16:23:59

I need a cup of tea on the hour generally. I have spent many hours on governors stuff, and don't get any expenses for travel or anything else. We get cheap biscuits at the full governors meetings, just a hot drink at committee meetings. I have taken home baked goodies on occasion too.

Ruprekt Sat 09-Mar-13 21:41:42

I think it is outrageous not to be offered a drink at governor meetings.

Surely this is common courtesy when someone enters a meeting!

I do not put into the staffroom kitty as it is £28 per term which I think is outrageous and I take my own coffee/milk into school. I often bake for the staffroom though and take in biscuits.

I am outraged that you are not given a drink. Certainly not our schools way or a very rights respecting. angryangryangryangry

Whydobabiescry Sat 09-Mar-13 22:46:11

I'm a governor at a primary school and unfortunately we don't get any tea or biscuits. The meetings usually start at 6pm so something to keep us going until we get home would be nice.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 09-Mar-13 22:47:42

No, never.

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 09-Mar-13 22:48:03

Oh, except once when we got takeaway pizzas after a 12 hour session.

DewDr0p Sun 10-Mar-13 12:13:55

We scrapped AOB from our agenda. If it's not put on the agenda in advance, it doesn't get discussed grin

Lomaamina Sun 10-Mar-13 14:36:21

I'm aghast people are expected to work [volunteer] through supper-time without the basic courtesy of a cup of tea or coffee.

Re: long meetings, I must say I'm allergic to any meeting that takes over 1.5 hours. For the ones I chair I ask for papers to be circulated ahead and taken as read. We can then discuss substantive matters only.

I like the idea of AOB being banned. I must see if I can get away with that for future meetings (if only my colleagues were efficient enough in getting their agenda items to me before the meeting, it would be doable).

I've also considered dismissed adopting the method employed by a US company I've heard of, which has meetings standing up, as that's a bit harsh grin.

Wigeon Mon 11-Mar-13 13:36:01

Thank you for all the outrage grin.

So I dropped the Deputy HT an email a week ago, advising him of the annual cost of providing tea and coffee at all governor meetings and asking him to confirm he'd be happy to provide tea and coffee at the full governor meeting next week. I haven't heard back...How do I chase this up most effectively?

Elibean Mon 11-Mar-13 13:47:53

We help ourselves to tea or coffee at full meetings, are offered some at sub meetings (as varying times and not in staff room), and as our staff governor is a chef, we occasionally get very tasty leftovers from cooking club grin

And we go out for a meal together a couple of times per year, everyone paying for themselves - just a social occasion.

admission Mon 11-Mar-13 14:40:24

Wigeon, this is very simple, the GB is responsible for the school budget. Just tell the DH that they are providing tea and coffee and that it is to be funded from the school budget -there will be a small float for cash purposes. You should be in throws of setting a budget from April 2013 to March 2014, can I suggest that you ensure that a small sum of money is put to one side for the tea and coffee.
As a completely separate question does the governing body have a budget for training of governors or for governor expenses? If not, why not as they are perfectly reasonable things that a good good governing body would be expected to have.

mutantninjamyrtle Mon 11-Mar-13 20:56:42

How is your school budget, though? Ours is fairly healthy and (or, more likely, so) we get tea, coffee, juice (sometimes), sandwiches, quiche, fruit and cakes.

If the school is in the red then laying out for grub probably isn't going to happen. But I think a few teabags wouldn't kill them!

Why don't you table it as AOB in the next full governing body meeting? Then you can all vote to instate hot drinks for evenings - after all, you have the power to!

admission Mon 11-Mar-13 22:16:12

mutantninjamyrtle - like the name - schools do have to live within their funding and that sometimes means making hard decisions. The reality is that saving a few quid on things like tea and coffee is a false economy and the school needs to be looking at what it spends 85% of its budget on - staffing. I know that sounds harsh but that is where cuts to balance the budget have to come from.

sozzle8 Tue 12-Mar-13 20:12:38

Yes definitely tea and coffee and sometimes biscuits and cake smile

Wigeon Tue 12-Mar-13 21:16:12

Admission - well, I know that the GB are ultimately responsible for the budget, although day to day operational decisions about the budget are surely the responsibility of the staff, and given that governor refreshments are hardly a strategic issue, it seems a bit over the top to use that line of argument...

About your question: we buy into our (very good) county council-provided training for a small annual subscription. I'm not sure if there is a budget for governor expenses (I have never claimed for any as I haven't had any).

The full GB does not appear to set the overall budget - I assume the Resources Committee does, although they only met in Sept and then again last week (I am on a separate sub-committee, and have only been a governor since Sept, so I am still finding out (a) what the GB should be doing and (b) what the GB actually does do, which so far does not always seem to be the same as (a)).

In latest developments: the agenda is now out for the full GB meeting next week, and "Tea and Coffee" has mysteriously appeared as a whole agenda item (??! what is there to discuss?!). Meanwhile the Deputy HT has not responded to my email asking him to reply to my email of 8 days ago asking for school-provided refreshments...

We have access to the staff room supplies - I'd be massively disappointed if the staff grudged us a few teabags and spoonfuls of instant. The milk is in suspiciously tiny bottles and appears to be the children's leftovers ...

We do them a social at the end of each school year, last year's featured a cocktail bar - we can claim expenses for the food/drink we contribute, but I don't think anyone does; I certainly don't. So I think they do alright out of the deal, even before we factor in our fabulous governing skills. wink

Wigeon Fri 22-Mar-13 13:07:21

Quick update: Deputy HT didn't reply to my email because he was off work sick. When he did, he said that he'd discussed the issue with the Chair of Governors and as the money would be coming out of the school budget, they'd decided to put it on the agenda for the next full governors meeting.

I was rather shock as clearly governors do not and should not approve such tiny amounts of expenditure (which I pointed out), but the meeting came round last week, and.....

when we all walked in the room, the Deputy HT was there offering everyone a drink of tea or coffee! grin grin. And the agenda item was right at the end of the long meeting, so there was just a bit of mumbling about how he'd appreciate us washing up our cups and no discussion.

Horray! Common sense has prevailed. grin

Now onto worrying about real, actual strategic issues affecting the school....

rabbitstew Fri 22-Mar-13 15:57:18

.... like whether Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury's, Iceland, Aldi, the pound shop or (stealing from) the PTA cupboard is the best place to obtain governors' biscuits, tea,coffee and washing up liquid? grin

Areyoumadorisitme Fri 22-Mar-13 16:46:05

How amusing and ridiculous!

At least common sense has prevailed. If our contribution is not worth as much as a cup of tea there is a problem.
she says while still not getting a cup of tea at our school but I don't think it's a purposeful point but just not that practical

nlondondad Fri 22-Mar-13 22:50:30

Coffee or tea at ours, and biscuits.

meetings start at 6 and we try to finish by 7.30. Sometimes THAT is a challenge (I am the chair) but Governors are very supportive of the principle. In general, if it needs detailed discussion do this at a committee.

Feenie Fri 22-Mar-13 23:18:40

We have a full governors on the last day of term, next Thursday. Exactly what I want to be doing after we have officially broken up!

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