Full marks for school governor support?
School governors provide an invaluable support to schools. However, the governors themselves need to be supported if they are to perform effectively. Our client, a City Council, had set up The Governance Unit to provide advice and training. They wished to review how well the unit was performing. They also wanted to understand the views of governors on their role and if they’d been given enough support.
The broad objectives of this particular city council market research project were to explore and understand:
- Why people became a governor and how much time and effort it involved?
- How did different types of governors perceive their role?
- Whether their role had changed recently and, if so, how?
- What support had they had been given on becoming a governor? Had they had any further training?
- What were their experiences and perceptions of the Governance Unit?
- What further support or training would they find useful in helping them fulfil their role?
We carried out five focus groups of between six to eight governors. Each group reflected one type of governor: Head Teachers, Teachers, Parents, Members of the Local Education Authority or Chairpersons.
Each group contained a mix of governors from primary, secondary, state and voluntary aided schools.
The insights from the focus groups helped offer a greater depth of understanding into how different governors perceived their roles. They also provided valuable insights as to how the council could best help the governors. A consensus view emerged from each type of governor that additional support was needed in several specific areas.