Royal School for the Deaf Derby Governing Body
The Role of a Governor
A Governor is essentially a “critical friend” of the school. Governors do not generally make school policy, though no major change to the nature of the school could be made without the consent of the Governing Body. Rather, they look at school policy and practice, can recommend modification or change, and monitor the work of the school. They also have many opportunities to show support or get involved. It should be an ‘Eyes on, Hands off’ approach.
The current legislation requires all Governors to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
All Governors are volunteers; they have some legal obligations and it is hoped that they will also wish to show a supportive interest in many aspects of school life. The Governors meet twice a term as a Full Governing Body (FGB). The FGB is divided into three committees, Pupil Well-being and Attainment, Resources and Finance. Each governor is on one of these committees and each committee meets twice a term. Governors are required to attend all these evening meetings, or send a reason and apology if they cannot. Paperwork which Governors are required to read will usually be sent out in advance.
Governors are also paired with a curriculum department or area of special activity. They are asked to form links with the teachers and take a supportive role.
Governors are encouraged to attend some of the school’s special events.
More experienced Governors are asked to join small working parties with specific responsibilities e.g. the Disciplinary Committee or Staff Appointments and Selection. All of these groups have the input of a member of staff from the school’s Senior Leadership Team.
All the essential meetings are held in the evenings but it is helpful if Governors can occasionally attend during the day.
From time to time Governors are trusted with confidential information.
Training and Support
New Governors are paired with a more experienced one who will be their mentor. The Local Authority currently runs courses for Governors. RSDD also arranges several training sessions for its governors. Governors are given a comprehensive Handbook.
To sum up: Governors give their time for free, have significant responsibilities, have to do quite a lot of reading – but most of all do a very important and rewarding job for the school.
Janet Hall and Heather Flockton Joint Chair of the Governors
I started my career as a mainstream teacher but after volunteering at a youth club for deaf children at the Rycote Centre in Derby I decided to retrain as a Teacher of the Deaf.
I worked for Derbyshire Service for the Hearing Impaired as teacher in charge of a Resource Unit in Chesterfield before joining RSDD. I was employed by the school for 20 years becoming Head of Primary and then Assessment for Learning Co-ordinator. I was staff governor twice during this time.
I retired in 2013 and was invited to join the Board of Governors in 2015. I always felt very privileged to work at RSDD it is a unique school. I have been even more privileged to be Chair of the Governors and also now to share that role with Heather. As joint Chairs we will be able to bring a range of skills and experience to the role which will enable us to support the staff and pupils in continuing to create an environment in which all children and young people can achieve their full potential.
I spent over 35 years working in Special Education in UK and overseas, as teacher, department head, advisor and headteacher. My particular interests were in autism and communication and I supported these with post-graduate qualifications.
Throughout my career one way I sought to contribute more widely was through volunteering as a Secondary School Governor (12 years) and later in a Residential Special School. When RSDD was, in 2015, in need of support I offered and became a Local Authority Governor. Since retiring I have been able to contribute more time to RSDD and have been so proud to contribute to the work and efforts of the Headteacher, Staff and Young People in making the school the high quality centre of learning that it has become.
Last year I was honoured to become the Joint Chair of Governors and believe the sharing of the role has been of benefit in supporting RSDD in such a challenging year. I hope to continue contributing positively to the School by facilitating the provision of the most conducive learning and supportive environment to enable all our Young People to reach their full potential.