Encouraging greater governor engagement

Insight – Primary School

What was the issue addressed?
It is hard to understand why some governors are happy to attend meetings but don’t feel they have much to add when in the meetings and don’t volunteer to take on work afterwards. It could be due to lack of confidence on their part in the value that they can add.

What happened?
Initiation of a skills assessments to understand what each governor can offer and sharing those assessments with the whole body. Improving the structure and chairing of meetings to ask members specifically to contribute where a point of discussion matches their areas of expertise.

What lessons were learnt?
This was done at a previous school and I’m now elsewhere.

School governors have many responsibilities. Ensuring all governors are fully involved is key to an effective governing body, but this doesn’t mean that individual governors have to be involved in all aspects of the governing body’s work.

A good starting point is for the governing body to undertake a skills audit. This is an excellent way to assess the skills, knowledge and experience of governors and enables the governing body to look at where there are gaps, what training is required, and how best to use the skill set of governors purposefully. If individual governors have expertise in certain areas, the governing body can tap into this to strengthen a particular area of their work. For example, a governor with financial expertise could assist with the work of the finance committee.

An example of a skills audit can be found here

Governing body meetings need to be efficient but the climate of the meeting also needs to be open and transparent, whilst creating an environment that is conducive to asking those challenging and supportive questions. Governors are not there after all to rubber stamp decisions. Some useful tips are provided here

In addition to the above, a governing body that has developed effective teamwork, as well as a mentoring approach for new governors, will usually be proactive in developing and sharing key areas of work, for example via link governor work, committees and working groups.

The Governing Body – An Effective Team

Top Tips for Governors

All of these are excellent ways to get governors fully involved as a starting point. Why not share other ways of working to fully engage governors that your governing body may have implemented.

Does your school conduct a skills audit or assessment? Has this been useful? What, if any, problems has this caused?
What does your Governing Body do to encourage greater engagement from all governors?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?

Contact Us

01443 844532 / 029 2075 3685 [email protected]
Sam MacNamara – 07943 887275 / Jane Morris – 07957 969708