I often toy with stepping away from my school governor duties, especially since I have become a "reluctant" chair. I was Vice Chair earlier this year and when the Chair resigned I had to step into his shoes and funnily enough at the next meeting I was voted in. Not because I am organised, efficient, and able to keep my distance emotionally, no because no one else wanted it! There is quite a lot of work and a huge amount of responsibility involved in school governance, regardless of position and when trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance it is our volunteering roles that get sidelined. However, every time the thought of resigning pops into my head something happens to stop me in my tracks.
I am not a school governor because I am generous with my time, no I want to be involved in the education of my children and all those other children that need someone in their corner. So at a Chairs meeting when we were informed that there has been a worrying increase in fixed and permenant exclusions of children from school, I decided to attend the next exclusions training session.
Many counties are moving the responsibility of fixed term (more than 5 days) and permenant exclusions from the Headteacher to the exclusion panel, (school governors) This is to ensure that the school behaviour policy has been followed and that each child is being treated fairly. There is a definite trend in schools not providing the right support that some of the pupils need. Not because they don't want too but because they can't afford too. With budgets being cut, less CAHMS available and SEND funds being reduced, I have to say that I do have some sympathy with school staff. Classes are getting bigger, getting children a place on the SEND register is harder and County are running on limited resources. All theses things will effect our children, my child in particular. So when a child becomes to big a drain on resources, finances and other children's education, exclusion is seen as an easy way out. Our trainer even said that permanent exclusions are a good thing for the child and their family because In many cases it forces County and the support agencies to up their game and put more support in place, but for the child the damage is done.
Being a Governor means that I am involved in policy making decisions, ensuring that the panels are made up of people who aren't afraid to question the status quo, who will ensure that decsions are fair and school processes are followed. With my involvement in the adoption world I know of attachment training and support and where the school can go for help - this is what our Pupil Premium Plus money should be being spent on. I can ask the questions about progress for all the minority grouping, English as Another Language(EAL), Pupil Premium children (disadvantaged). I remind staff that if we can't support childrens behaviour then the children can't/won't learn.
I am very lucky, my school is pretty amazing, we work well together and Child 4 is very settled, doing well academically, and loving his sport. Behaviour is monitored and he is supported at lunchtime, which is when struggles the most. They are even having some "Transition" training from County Post Adoption team. I do wonder though if they would be so open if I wasn't involved as a school governor as well as a parent, which is why when those thoughts about walking away are often ignored as I know that in reality my family are the only people in child 4's corner.