Review by Julia Skinner

Retired headteacher, who is now a trustee and founder of the 100 Word Challenge

19 Jan 2019, 5:00


Julia Skinner’s top school governance blogs Jan 2019

It has been so good to see more governors starting to blog to share their opinions. More please!

I’ve been a (wild) governor for many a year


Chris Chivers will be known to many in education and on Twitter for his reflective approach, so it was great to read his take on governance. He uses the analogy of education being like an Airfix kit: “the bits have to go in the right place, with the right amount of glue, if the finished model is to look like the picture on the box”, and explains how a governor is always one step removed – which allows for that reflection for which Chivers is known. He outlines the various aspects of the role, including visiting the school and the purpose of such visits.

The post was shared on a governors’ Facebook group and, interestingly, the comments that followed were mainly about the picture that accompanied it. Strong opinions were shared on the fact that Chivers’s specific role is detailed on his governor badge. Some commenters asked whether it was really necessary.

“The average person who takes on a school governor role is really being thrown into a massive deep dark cave and asked to map its insides using nothing but a lighter”


Asking good questions and having challenging conversations can provide fresh “blood” to leadership teams, says Laura McInerney, who recently became a school governor for the first time. Despite her extensive experience within education, she has found governance completely different and it is refreshing to see that she would recommend the role.

There have been times when she has felt out of her comfort zone, although aspects such as data interrogation felt easier for her, while fellow governors struggled. It is interesting to read that the training she did was not particularly engaging: providers should take note. After all, they are training volunteers!

A view from the other side


It was so refreshing to be approached by a retired headteacher who wanted to share her experiences as a governor. Like many of us, she has found it time-consuming, but rewarding. Having been on the senior leadership team side of this particular table, the dedication and efforts that governors make have been eye-opening. Although she says “governors are such an integral part of a successful school”, it would be interesting to know if this is a change of opinion from her previous role.

Diary of a new governor


Another newbie blogger writing about governance, but this one has something different. Did you know that “young” governors are being recruited? The thirtysomething writer explains that this is a group that the National Governance Association is keen to get hold of. The post starts at the beginning of the process, from applying as well as selecting a school. Just like getting a job, not all schools suit all those who want to be governors. The writer clearly has thought about what she can bring to the role, as well as what she can learn – and there is a huge amount of learning going on. The point is made that if we want (and need) more governors in our schools, the process needs to be easier and more transparent, and appeal to all ages and cultures.

The governor’s role from a non-governor perspective


This is a post with a twist. The author is not a governor, but has clearly had experience of governance within education, so writes from the viewpoint of a “service user”. The blog starts with a definition of the role as “critical friend” and explores the possible tension that this could cause. I’m sure many headteachers would agree. Given the huge tasks facing education, the writer repeats the need for governors to understand their role and use it effectively.

More Reviews

Twenty things to do with a computer (Forward 50)

Back in 1971, when computers in schools were barely conceivable, Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon produced a revolutionary paper....

Find out more

Gerry Robinson’s blogs of the week, 10 January 2022

Creating the safe, happy space where children are inspired to talk @EmmaDee77 For those who haven’t been paying attention,...

Find out more

Huh: Curriculum Conversations Between Subject and Senior Leaders

Though not aimed at a primary school audience, this book raises important questions every sector of education should be...

Find out more

Sonia Thompson’s blogs of the new year – 4 January 2022

Three blogs old and new to reflect on at the start of the new year, chosen by Sonia Thompson

Find out more

Dan Morrow’s blogs of the week, 6 December 2021

This week's top blogs cover lesson observations, curriculum interconnectivity, teaching like a champion, and the impact of recent Ofsted...

Find out more

The Juggling Act by Toby Salt

Even if you are not currently in leadership, I’d advise you not to skip this review. Back in 1999,...

Find out more

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *