Governors bring a wealth of experience and expertise to schools, but if we don’t know what one another’s strengths are it’s difficult to take advantage of this.
Melian came up with a really useful, simple suggestion for how to overcome this: at the start of each meeting ask everyone to explain a little about what they do, know and are interested in.
To get people thinking and maybe sharing a little more you could draw up a list of questions and get people to pull them out of a hat, taking it in turns to answer a question.
Here are a few you might use, they may not all be useful in terms of skills, but they may help you get to know your fellow governors better anyway:
- What do your colleagues come to you for?
- What is the most important thing you learned this month?
- What is the most important part of your job?
- What would you like to do less of?
- What would you like to do more of?
- If you were a superhero, what would your name be?
- Do you have children at school? Which ones?
- What do you think schools are for?
- What is the most important thing a teacher can do?
- What is your ideal job?
- Do you manage a budget? If so, how big is it?
- Do you manage anyone? If so, how many people?
- What did you achieve last week?
- What have you been struggling with this month?
- Why did you become a governor?
- What do you want to contribute to the school?
Encourage people to expand on their answers if they’re not being forthcoming. Throw in some funnier ones if you like. Also encourage others to answer if someone pulls out an interesting one.
A more formal approach is a skills audit, which can be really useful, but unless everyone is aware of the skills around the table, rather than just the Chair and the Head, it’s not that useful.