Research background

Research was carried out by WISERD with the aim of understanding how school governors in Wales could be supported in their work. Data collection involved in-depth interviews with governors connected to Cardiff University and a survey of governors, administered nationally. Findings from these data led us to develop governor generated case studies. The aims of these case studies 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. It is important that users recognise the different uses the cases can have and appreciate that these are governor created reflections not definitive answers or complete stories. Broadly speaking, we see that cases that address challenges might be useful for new governors to consider as a way of broadening their perspectives on the role; examples of good practice can be shared more widely and offer suggestions on ways governors have tackled issues; cases that present difficulties and problems governors have encountered would be best used in training situations where additional information and material can be provided. Please note the aim of a case study before using it: Reflection; Insight; Debate.

AimThemeUse
ReflectionChallengesNew governors, induction
InsightsGood practiceGovernors addressing specific issues
DebateProblemsTraining situations

The case studies have been organised thematically and can be searched by key words and topic tags. We have hosted these in a blog format to allow colleagues to write responses and to allow the collection to grow and develop. We appreciate that the collection is limited in many ways, both in terms of the numbers of case studies from secondary, all-through and special schools, and in relation to the topics covered. However, we have taken the decision to proceed with publishing in the hope that this will stimulate other governors to contribute their experiences and insights, as well as test the value of such a resource. Accompanying each case is a helpful commentary, many with additional resource links, and we recommend governors reviewing these alongside reading the personal reflections of their colleagues.

There is also a link to a form that governors can use to contribute new case studies: Governor Reflections Proforma.

Acknowledgements

We would like to express us deep thanks to all the governors that participated in the research, both those who volunteered to be interviewed and the hundreds of governors throughout Wales who completed the survey. Special thanks also must be given to the governors who kindly provided case studies, many of which are used here.

A number of other individuals provided valuable support and information, including colleagues in Estyn, Local Authorities and Consortia. We are particularly indebted to the help and advice of Governor Cymru Services, who gave generously of their time to review the case studies and provide helpful guidance notes with useful resource links. 

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