Get to know the staff

30th November 2007 at 00:00
Governors get to see a lot of the headteacher and probably quite a lot of the deputy head. In most schools, both attend governing body meetings. The informal conversations before and after provide an opportunity to get to know them. Keeping in touch with other staff at the school requires a bit more effort.

Of course, some teachers and support staff are governors and so you get to know them. But what about those you might find it difficult to recognise in the street? Visiting the school regularly is one way to keep in touch with staff.

It is important that you do not just drop in unannounced, as this can disrupt an already busy day or, worse, could seem like you are checking up on everyone. Most schools have a visits policy for governors and it is always worth following it.

It may seem perverse but do not outstay your welcome when you do visit. My experience of visiting many schools when I was director of the Basic Skills Agency was that - in the very best sense - they don't want you there for too long.

Most schools make the minutes of meetings available and, of course, the head, deputy and other staff who attend governing body meetings can help keep the remainder in touch with what governors are doing. Some schools also find it useful to hold a regular annual meeting with staff - perhaps as part of a staff meeting - where they can report on what they have discussed, as well as get staff views about issues.

Alan Wells, Chair of governors at a north-east London primary.

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