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Sir Francis Drake

Parent Governors

Can you use your perspective as a parent to help the governing board understand a parent's viewpoint? This will help the governors to  make good decisions and maintain a link with the parent community.

 

Our Parent Governors  are: 

Rania Abdalla: Parent of a child in Year 2 and one in Year 5

My main career has been in journalism. I have studied journalism in Sudan and worked in the printed press, radio and television for many years. Yet, I am also an active member of the volunteering community in Sudan. My various interests are backed up by further higher education where I studied Education (BSc) and Disaster Management and refugees (MSc). Most of my work in journalism and charities was with the vulnerable sectors of society which usually included women and children. I have founded a charity in which I produced and presented a television program series which dealt with the issues that face vulnerable families and children. When I joined my husband in the UK with our two daughters, I volunteered with Sir Francis Drake Primary school as a teaching assistant and photographer. I participated in the school’s events by preparing posters and the organisation of different school activities. I have always been driven by the ambition to see my daughters make great achievements, but I’m also a passionate activist with a history of working with children. I hope that by becoming a governor at Sir Francis Drake Primary, I can continue to be an active member of the community of the hard-working people who strive to secure a bright future for our children.

 

Dr.Benaliligha Francis Selemo : Parent of a child in Year 3,4 and 6

Dr Benaliligha Francis Selemo is a doctor of mental health (specifically, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist) and  an NHS manager. He has 28 years’ experience helping people with a variety of mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, and supporting people affected by workplace bullying, difficult inter-personal relationships, and the immigration. Dr. Selemo works for private hospitals, charities, and the UK national health service. He specialises in occupation and family medicine/healthcare. He is the co-author of ten wellbeing books. He loves nature, animals, gardening, running,  cooking, great movies, swimming, poetry, travelling, carpentry, children stories, and caring for people in need in the UK and overseas.  

 

Mr Ramazan Iskir: Parent of a child in Year 2

My main job experience has been in education. I have studied in Yunusemre Teacher Training High School and, have completed my Bachelors degree in Secondary School Mathematics Teaching in 19 May University in Turkey. I have done my Master's Degree in Education afterwards. I am now a qualified teacher in an independent school. I have migrated from Turkey to the UK so that, I understand the difficulties that a student can experience if they are from a different background and culture. Therefore, what kind of solutions we can find for them and their welfare. I have participated in school fund raising events and worked in a Boarding School as well. I speak two languages both Turkish and English and understand that a child who speaks English as an additional language may struggle at school a bit and what kind of solutions we have to offer. I currently study a Senco course which helps me how to overcome learner barriers which a child might come across. Finally, I am really excited that I will collaborate with parent governors and school's senior leadership team.

 

The role of a parent governor is

  • To bring a parental perspective to the issues discussed – they're not there to speak 'on behalf' of the parent body
  • They have the same rights as every other governor on the board

What do parent governors do?

Parent governors bring their wealth of experience and knowledge, contributing to the successful running of our school.

Being a governor is a "hands off" role – decisions made by the board influence the whole school, but governors are not responsible for, or involved in, the day-to-day running of the school.

The role is a necessary part of ensuring the good functioning of school leadership. Governors set the ethos of the school and drive for continuous improvement, and they also oversee financial performance and ensure money is well-spent. Governors commission the head teacher and other school leaders to act on their behalf in putting their ideas into practice, and they ensure that the school leadership is held to account in doing so.

What responsibility and influence do parent governors have?

Quite a lot. It is the Board of Governors’ role to:

  • Appoint the head teacher
  • Appoint the deputy head teacher
  • Hold the school leadership to account
  • Ensure school staff have training, support and resources to be effective
  • Maintain oversight of the school’s budget spending, including pupil premium allocation
  • Decide on the aims, strategy, vision and ethos of the school
  • Determine ways to put all of the above into practice as part of the school development plan
  • Hear the later stages of staff grievances or pupil exclusion appeals

As you can see, school governors have both a creative and managerial remit. They develop ideas and strategies for putting those ideas in to practice, but also hold leaders to account and offer them constructive feedback on their performance.

Responsibility does not rest with any one individual. Decisions are made by the board as a whole, and individual governors are not held to account for collective decisions.

Boards of Governors can also work with PTAs in building a 'whole school' community, connecting with the wider community and engaging prospective parents.

How big a commitment is being a parent governor?

The term of office is usually four years, though it can be decided when parents are elected to the board, and it may extend beyond your child’s time at the school if your child moves to secondary school or changes school during the four-year period. During this time, you would be expected to attend and contribute thoughts and ideas to the governing board’s meetings.

Our full governing body meets three times a year; once per term.  You might also be on one of our committees which also meet three times a year.   Additionally, you will be expected to visit the school as part of your duties in order to monitor and evaluate as you gain understanding for your role, and take on training for the role through the Local Authority.

You may also be invited to school events such as sports days to increase the visibility of the governing board to parents and represent your school to the community. Under current employment law, employers must allow employees to undertake their duties at school, but this may be paid or unpaid, so speak to your employer and find out what their policy is.

You may resign at any time by giving written notice to the clerk on your board of governors.

What skills do parent governors need?

There is no set skillset that marks out an ideal parent governor. So long as you are over 18 years of age and have a child at our school you can express an interest in becoming a parent governor.  It falls to the judgement of the board that any parent wishing to act as a governor has the relevant skills and experience to govern effectively and contribute to the success of the school.

There’s also a legal requirement for parents to be DBS checked before starting their post as a governor.

What's in it for parents?

There's plenty of opportunity to learn new skills, working with others to help to develop useful policies that will benefit the education of children. The role may sound formal, but governors play a vital role in the running of the school and most people enjoy their time as a governor, as well as appreciating the sense of duty and opportunity to show loyalty to their school. You may also progress to being a chair, which brings added responsibility. The experiences of school governorship look great on any CV, and can even create career opportunities.

Not only that, but you will also get to know your school better especially in terms of its strengths and weaknesses. You will gain a great understanding of how the school is run, and this will have a positive knock-on effect on your child’s education, academic outcomes and school life.

If you think this is something you would like to get involved in, please get in touch with the school and we will be very happy to answer any questions you may have.    You can also get in touch with our Chair, Krys via email at kmcinnis@francisdrake.lewisham.sch.uk if you want to. 

To apply, you will need to write a short statement saying why you are interested in volunteering and what skills you would bring to the role.  This can be handed in at the school office any time before  Friday 22nd October.  If an election is needed this statement will help other parents choose between the candidates.