Sunday, 21 March 2010

Internet Links & Online Resources for School Governors

Here is a list of Internet Links & Online Resources for School Governors I have built up over the last two years.

Please let me know of any other School Governor related links which I may have missed or any links that no longer work.


National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services

CWDC Safer Recruitment Information

Safer Recruitment Online Training Portal

Independent Safeguarding Authority

Teachers TV Section for School Governors

Financial Management Standard in Schools (FMSIS)

Governor Line

DCSF Governornet

School Governor Guide to the Law 05.12.09.doc

DCSF Consultations relating to School Governing

National Audit Office Guide for School Governors

Raise Online

Governornet Jargon Buster List

Fischer Family Trust


Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
DCSF Governors Newsletter Online from DCSF Spring 2010 Edition

Governor Associations

National Governors Association NGA

Governors Wales

Discussion Boards

UK Governor Discussion Board/Forums

Governornet Discussion Board/Forum

Times Education Forums

School Governing Blogs:

Modern Governor Blog
Supergovernor Blog
Ramblings of a Governor Blog
School Governing Blog

Recruitment of Governors

School Governors One Stop Shop

School Governor Online Training

Modern Governor
Link Governor

Facebook Groups!/group.php?gid=9233231497&ref=ts I am a School Governor School Governors One Stop Shop!/pages/Supergovernor/343621889503?ref=ts Supergovernor


School Governor
Supergovernor Http://

Education Related News in UK Broadsheets





Thursday, 18 March 2010

Parent Governor Representative Article in Surrey Governor Summer Edition

In October 2008 I was elected as a parent governor at Polesden Lacey Infant School in Bookham where my eldest daughter is a pupil. After serving one year‘s apprenticeship I now find myself chairman of governors.

The clerk to our governing body forwarded me an email from the Surrey Governors Association about Parent Governor Representatives (PGRs).

Upon receiving that email from the clerk I did some background research to find that:

● PGR‘s are elected from serving parent governors to represent the views of all parents on local authority committees dealing with education matters
● PGR‘s were first established in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, and are subject to their own Regulations, (the Parent Governor Representatives Regulations 2001).

PGRs have speaking rights on any issue under discussion by the committee. The role of the PGR is, primarily, to hold their local authority to account by consulting with and feeding back to parents on discussions and decisions relating to education.

It all sounded very interesting so I submitted my nomination form seconded by two fellow parent governors with the following election statement.

"I am an active governor and parent at Polesden Lacey Infant School in Bookham, Mole Valley. My children have inspired in me a passion for education and life-long learning. I believe we should be equipping children for the next stage of their life in this current uncertain world we live in. I would like to see the education policy driven by parental choice rather than politics."
As election time neared I emailed the Surrey Governors Association to find out why the ballot papers had not been sent out to parent governors. I was delighted to learn that mine was the only application for the three PGR vacancies so I was automatically elected to join the select committee without the need for a ballot. My election statement has never seen the light of day until now.

I was also saddened by the apathy that no other parent governor in the whole of Surrey had put themselves forward for nomination. That is what inspired me to write this article to better explain the role of the parent governor representative on the Surrey Select committee and share my own experiences in my first six months as a member.

My first select committee meeting took place in July last year which was a mix between induction and fact finding to better understand our roles on the committee. Some 90% of the select committee are new members who are chaired by Dorothy Ross-Tomlin, who is clearly committed to make sure that the select committee makes a real difference and is not just there to rubber stamp Surrey officers wishes.

The select committee is very akin to a school governing body where we act as a critical friend and ensure accountability. However, it is not all reading committee papers, power-point presentations, listening and challenging; we also have the opportunity to have training and field fact finding trips.

At the first meeting we visited High Ashurst Outdoor Educational Centre near Box Hill, Dorking. We had a full VIP tour of the facilities and had the opportunity to speak to the staff. It is a truly inspirational place and the staff are clearly very passionate about what they achieve there.

The majority of the Select committee meetings start at 10am at County Hall, Kingston Upon Thames and finish around 12.30pm. Sometimes there may be a short presentation or fact finding visit afterwards which is purely optional but often beneficial. There are around seven committee meetings per year plus the odd special meeting which works out less than 20 hours per year sitting on the actual committee, which is not as big a commitment as some might think.

Details including agenda, committee papers for the Schools and Learning select committee to find
out what we do, can be found at:

I have found the whole experience very interesting and rewarding so far and hope I continue to do so. An added benefit is you get a prime car parking pass in front of County Hall.

I also run a twitter micro blogging service with School Governor related news items and my experiences as both Chairman of Governors and Parent Governor representative can be found at I welcome feedback and questions.

I would certainly welcome fellow Surrey parent governors to join me on the select committee to fill the two outstanding PGR vacancies. If you think this could be a possibility for you, more info on Surrey‘s PGR Webpage can be found at:

Sean Whetstone
Chairman of Governors of Polesden Lacey Infant School, Bookham
Parent Governor Representative Member of Surrey County Council Schools & Learning Select Committee

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Ofsted Calling Part Two

This Guest Blog was first published on ModernGovernor on 9th March 2010

Monday morning came round very fast and I got to school at 7.30am, the Ofsted team were expected at 8am.

The morning went very well with the first lesson observation graded as outstanding. One of the changes in the new framework is that the lead inspector will give you feedback throughout the day so we knew things were going well.

My Chair of Governors interview was scheduled at 2.30pm but I asked one of our teachers and the inspector whether they minded me observing a dance lesson at 2pm with them.

The lesson was outstanding and clearly the inspector was impressed. However, I am convinced they are trained not to show it through their body language.

Now it was my turn to come under scrutiny; everything so far was good – maybe even outstanding – so I didn’t want to let down the side down on safeguarding or governance.

I decided to bring in my Vice Chair as I figured two heads were better than one. I explained that I had been the Chair for 104 days, taking over from Chair who was in that position for 15 years. I communicated that I was passionate, committed, enthusiastic and a fast learner.

I also shared I had only been a School Governor for 470 days but was a lifelong learner. He set my mind at ease saying it’s not how long you have been a Governor or Chair, but what you bring to the role and how you approach it.

The first question the inspector asked was about how the governors effectively monitored the school.

This was my chance to impress; I reeled off the SEF, SIP reports, Head Teacher reports, School Development Plan, safeguarding monitoring, governor visits, governor training and RAISE online data.

I gave examples of the school’s strengths and areas for development without the need to refer to my notes.

The three roles we fulfil as governors are accountability, strategic view and critical friend. I gave examples how we fulfil our obligations in each of each of those areas.

We moved on to safeguarding and we were quizzed about safer recruitment. I had just completed my Online Safer Recruitment course on CWDC so I felt comfortable discussing it.

Finally, we were on the home straight and only Governor Safeguarding monitoring to cover off.

Luckily, I had completed a Governor Safeguarding visit in November based on the Ofsted inspector’s guidance for inspecting schools. This is a public document as I used back in November to monitor our school.

I gave a copy of my report to the inspector which seemed to go down very well. I had survived the Chair of Governors interview with no questions I couldn’t answer! Phew!

Many interviews and lesson observations later the inspector called together the Head Teacher, Senior Teacher, Vice Chair and myself into the Head’s office to deliver his judgement.

Drum roll please……

With a broad smile he said that he had judged our School to be outstanding overall! He explained we scored 23 sections as “Outstanding”, 2 as “Good” and nothing below good.

My Vice Chair and I were personally very pleased that governance and safeguarding were among the 23 sections that were regarded as outstanding!

The only disappointment was that we couldn’t tell anyone for 3 weeks.

Well now we can and here is our report!

The report says more than I could ever say in this blog.

If you are due an Ofsted inspection soon I’d be happy to answer any questions or give advice.

Sean Whetstone
Chair of Governors
Polesden Lacey Infant School

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Ofsted Calling Part One

This guest blog was first published on Modern Governor on 2nd March 2010

I had been Chair of Governors for exactly 100 days and still finding my feet when Ofsted called!

I was in my Head Teacher’s office having our regular Chair of Governors and Head Teacher meeting on Thursday 14th January 2010. It was our first meeting of the New Year – we had just finished discussing safeguarding and we started discussing a possible pending Ofsted inspection.

I said I felt I needed to know more about the new Ofsted framework to understand my role in the inspection. We spent less than five minutes discussing Ofsted when the phone rang.

The Head turned to me and said “Wouldn’t this be funny if that was Ofsted calling”. Her face went pale and she quickly wrote Ofsted on her pad and lifted it up for me to see. She wasn’t joking!

Ofsted were giving us notice to inspect us on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of January which was less than 4 days away!

Panic was my first thought and excitement was second. I knew our Self Evaluation Form (SEF) and School Improvement Partner (SIP) had been marked as outstanding.

However, I’ve heard so many horror stories about previously outstanding or good schools being marked down or special measures being put in under the new framework. It made me scared.

In our own confederation, one previously good school was put into special measures and another had been graded as satisfactory so I knew these stories weren’t just urban myths.

As Chair I dedicated my weekend to memorising the new SEF, SIP reports, Head Teacher reports, School Development Plan, Full Governing Body minutes, committee minutes, Safeguarding monitoring, governor visit reports, governor training records and RAISE online data.

I know governors are not expected to memorise all this information. However, I felt would be a good use of my time and make me much better prepared if I didn’t need to refer to folders and papers all the time during my Chair of Governor’s interview.

It was time well spent; not only did I learn more about the schoo,l but looking at these papers combined gave me a new perspective. Often these papers are read in isolation and things are lost.

It also took my mind off the inspection and stopped me driving my family mad. I also decided to take two days off work and be based onsite at the school for the whole inspection.

I know everyone can’t do this but I figured it is only two days every three years so I didn’t mind taking the days as annual leave from work.

So, Ofsted sent us a Pre-Inspection Briefing on the Friday and it initially scared us. The problem is you can read too many things into these briefings which just aren’t there.

We began analysing our attainment figures and we reviewed our community cohesion…..

Part 2 coming soon – The Inspection and Judgement Day.

If you are due an Ofsted inspection soon I’d be happy to answer any questions or give advice.

Sean Whetstone Chair of Governors
Polesden Lacey Infant School