Following in-depth interviews with 16 school governors, a survey was administered to school governors across Wales. There were two purposes for the survey: first, to collect data on governors’ experiences in their role and explore the areas where they may require support; second, to facilitate the generation of case studies which record and report school governors’ experiences. The aims of these case studies, presented here in a redacted form, are to: prompt reflection about the kinds of issues governors may encounter in their role; provide insights on how governors have addressed issues; stimulate conversation and information sharing across governing bodies. There are three broad themes of case study: those providing examples of good practice; those that highlight the challenges of governance; and, those that reveal how governors can get things wrong or run into problems.
The case studies have been added to on some occasions to fill in gaps where the governor may have assumed specialised knowledge or abbreviated comments. However, all additional content is consistent with the original text. Some of the case studies reveal governors frustrations and explain problems that have not been resolved, other provide examples of solutions to problems that were successfully addressed. We have felt that it is important for each kind of case study to be included in the resource. Each can provide a prompt for reflection and stimulate engagement with important governance issues. It is also valuable for governors to feel that they are not alone in their understanding of issues related to governance. At the very least, if other agencies feel some governors are not addressing problems in the best way, reading about these experiences here may prompt them to take further constructive action. Case studies can also be used by governing bodies to prompt discussion, reflection and raise awareness of issues. For example, a Chair may find using anonymised case studies in this way proves less problematic in facilitating discussion within a meeting than if they initiate the discussion based on their own observations.
Each entry comes with a searchable list of key words and two or three questions designed to prompt reflection. The questions are suggestive and we encourage governing bodies who may which to use the case studies to add their own questions. We also suggest that where possible it would be good for governors to look at more than one case study related to theme. Each case is linked with a Commentary of expert advice provided by Governor Cymru Services, an independent national support & training provider for school governance in Wales. The commentaries provide a wealth of information and links to policy documents and other resources governors will find helpful in addressing issues similar those appearing in the cases.
Finally, we ask governors to make a response to the case studies by recording their reactions, thoughts and own experiences related to the ones they have read about. They can do this via the comment box at the bottom of each page and through completion of their own case on our easy to use online proforma.