In November 2014 PaJeS held its second evening of training workshops for governors of Jewish schools. We were very fortunate to be hosted by Sue Nyman, Chair of Governors at Yavneh College, at the offices of Grant Thornton. About 70 governors from 24 different schools attended and there was a lively buzz of conversation and excitement throughout the evening.
The workshops included a session on how governors should prepare for Ofsted. Clare Collins from the National Governors Association (NGA) laid out what Ofsted would be looking for in their interview with governors and stressed that schools needed enough governors with a deep knowledge of what is required. Needless to say, in the current climate of unannounced inspections, this was an oversubscribed session and covered a topic that is at the forefront of governors’ concerns.
Janet Scott from SGOSS, an organisation set up in 1999 by the DfE to help recruit governors, talked about the skills needed around the governing body table. She gave examples of how skills used in a career or in everyday life can be transferrable to those needed by schools. Another session looked at ‘a term in the life of a head’, helping governors to understand the myriad of pressures on their headteachers and how they can best support them. Richard Tyndall from the NGA gave a session on how governing bodies need to move from being operational to being strategic. This can be a particular problem in schools founded by parents who are involved in every detail of setting up the school but who need to take a step back once they appoint staff. There was some discussion around how governing bodies have developed their vision, aims and strategy.
It was evident how much governors enjoyed meeting their counterparts from other schools and sharing their experiences and challenges. What shone out was how fortunate we are as a community to have such high quality and committed volunteers taking up positions that involve them giving so much of their time and taking on so much responsibility.Participants described the event as “an informative evening that allowed us to network with other governors” and “a terrific event”, and many suggestions were put forward for future topics.