22nd September 2000 at 01:00
Try to talk to your chair before your first meeting. You mustn't waste that meeting because your team-maintenance does have a back-log. Does the chair want a break? If he's keen to go on, but realises things have gone awry you will be able to help, but he must agree to changes.

Your troublesome governors may get frustrated because everyone is tired and then they turn to inappropriate ways of doing things. It's the chair's job to put members straight if they are letting you down.

Good induction procedures are fundamental. Do you have anything in place - mentoring, pairing, a team-building session? Is there any hope of getting an in-house training evening for the whole body organised quickly And what about planning the best-ever annual report to parents?

Working in strategically chosen pairs on some useful task might help. New members who've got it wrong can get a good example and gentle counselling from experienced ones.

The first meeting is also a marvellous opportunity to revisit all sorts of working-together issues, such as work-sharing arrangements, school-visiting rotas, rules about confidentiality, declaring an interest, handling parent concerns, and good governor behaviour generally.

All this may seem a bit heavy after years of neglect, but it's a whole lot better than trying to do it in February or May, say, when every embarrassment has a human face!

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