My name is Andleeb Ahmed, and I am the Chair of Governors at Pinner High School. As we have Parent Governor vacancies at the moment I thought it would be a good idea to write to everyone about the Governing Body and the work we do. This might be of use if you are considering putting yourself forward to join us, and even if you are not it is important to know what is going on behind the scenes at your child’s school.
Governors are all volunteers who want to support the successful growth and development of the school. I am a local GP- all our Governors have day jobs, and most of us do not have a background in education. When the school first opened we had more Governors from local schools to help steer our development. Once we had appointed a Headteacher and the school was clearly on the right track, the Governing Body has evolved to include a more diverse skill set, but still involves some experienced school leaders. More details of the current Governors are on our website: https://www.pinnerhighschool.org/page/?title=Governance&pid=11 I have learnt so much from being a Governor at Pinner High School and enjoy the dialogue around school improvement and development. Interacting with the pupils via ‘student voice’ is my favourite part of being Governor . My background in the NHS and public service is useful in helping me understand some of the issues in education, but we welcome a diverse set of skills and backgrounds to enrich our Governing Body even further.
Highlights for me of the last few years include the ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgement. Having been a Governor since before the school opened and seeing the journey first hand, it was an emotional moment and a few tears were shed! We were also delighted to learn the school is the most oversubscribed in Harrow. Our local schools are so strong and so supportive that to be competing with them so soon is such a good sign.
We know the last few months have been challenging for everyone. The role of Governors is to support and challenge the Headteacher and the leadership team and we are particularly keen to provide support through the present time. We are proud of the contribution the school has made to the local community particularly in the last few months; making masks for frontline workers; hosting 3 other local schools on site; donating all their PPE to local healthcare providers; and still providing support for key workers in school and everyone else at a distance. As well as this, we are firmly behind the school’s proactive approach to emphasise Black Lives Matter. We recruited the current Headteacher to lead ‘an inclusive school for the whole community’ and this remains the case; to join our Governing Body you also need to be supportive of this position. We welcome new ideas and diversity, but given the school’s shortlisting for the TES Secondary school of the year award and many other positive indicators, we are not looking to steer a radically different course as we must be doing something right!
Other than recruiting senior staff, I am sometimes asked what we do. We meet several times a year in different committees and groups to talk to the school leadership team. They report a range of information to us, and we interrogate that data carefully to look at trends and indicators about what it tells us about our children, and any advice we share as a result. In ‘normal’ circumstances we like to visit the school and see it all at work. Sometimes it is easier to talk about what we don’t do. We don’t run the school. We leave that to the leadership team. I remind Governors from time to time that we are ‘eyes on, hands off’.
Being a Governor is very enjoyable. It enables parents to have a voice in the development of our school and to help shape its continuing success. What could be more important than that for our children?