Thursday, 26 May 2011

Recruitment, induction and training

Recruitment, induction and training

40. Over half of the governing bodies in the small sample had a full complement of governors at the time of the visits. Five of the remainder had a parent vacancy and one had a local authority vacancy. In one of the schools the governing body had been replaced by an interim executive board (IEB) when the school was judged to require special measures in 2007. In December 2009 the school’s capacity to improve was judged to be good and governance outstanding. At the time of the inspector’s visit, the IEB was implementing a transition plan to move from an IEB to a full governing body.

41. No difficulties were reported in recruiting governors in 11 of the 14 schools visited. Those with vacancies were confident that they would be filled. The headteacher of a special school saw changes of governing body membership as positive, bringing in new ideas, skills and expertise. Two secondary schools had experienced difficulties in recruiting parent governors. One reason for the difficulty was that parents felt that they did not have the time to commit to the role. In one of these schools, the size of the governing body had been reviewed and subsequently reduced from 18 to 14, including five parent governors. The number of committees was also reduced to two and the length of meetings restricted to no more than one and a half hours.

42. Typically, governors used their external contacts and networks to encourage others to put themselves forward to be governors. Governors who had initially become parent governors often remained on the governing body, for example as a community governor, when their term of office expired and they were no longer eligible to be a parent governor.

43. All new governors in the 14 schools visited received some form of induction. Typically new governors were given an induction pack which provided information about the school and explained the roles and responsibilities of governors. In some cases, this information was given to prospective governors to help them decide whether or not they wanted to become governors.

44. Attendance at training for new governors, for example, provided by the local authority, was another common feature of the induction process. In two cases, this had been provided in common with other local schools to avoid the difficulties encountered by some governors in travelling long distances across a local authority area.

45. More than two thirds of the schools visited held formal meetings for new governors with the headteacher, clerk and the chair of governors to support their induction. Typically these meetings took place before the new governor attended a governing body meeting. It helped to ensure that the new governor understood the protocols and procedures and had an opportunity to ask any questions. Over half of the 14 governing bodies allocated a mentor or buddy to new governors.

46. Governors in the schools visited undertook training, depending on their other commitments as well as the timing and location of training events, to update their knowledge and skills. In addition to induction training, governors undertook training on subjects such as special educational needs and the use of RAISEonline data. Typically, training was provided by the local authority. In one special school, governors who found it difficult to attend training events in the evening were exploring e-learning opportunities.

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