The School governor - COGs make the wheels go round

5th December 2008 at 00:00

Some wheels within education have COGs. To some this statement may sound nonsensical. So, who or what are the COGs? What do they do? Why are COGs essential to the education of children?

Local authorities have a statutory duty to support school governors. How they do it, and the type of support that is provided, is for the local authority to decide. However, in most authorities there is an officer responsible for providing this support, known as the co-ordinator of governor services, or COG, who works with and for governors.

COGs' responsibilities vary from one local authority to another. They may be limited to maintaining a register of governors and administering a training programme.

In larger local authorities they lead a team responsible for designing and developing training programmes in partnership with governors, delivering training three nights a week, organising Saturday conferences, a clerking service, troubleshooting when governing body meetings go awry, and publishing a termly newsletter. In addition, representation on local authority committees is a must, to keep abreast of the ever changing educational scene and their own authority's response to it.

In supporting governors, COGs help them to interpret their role, with children at the forefront of decision-making. In briefing and training clerks to governing bodies, they work to ensure that governors receive appropriate advice, and that the business of their meetings is accurately and appropriately recorded.

In each authority there is only one COG and in smaller authorities he or she may have other responsibilities; it can be a lonely and isolated job, except for the regional and national COGs networks through which good practice is shared. Essential to the education wheel, COGs interlock with advisory services, education forums and local and regional governor associations; and the National Governors' Association, to which many belong and with whom they exchange ideas and information.

Carol Woodhouse, Convenor of the Axe Valley Governors' Group, Devon.

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