Joe and Claire on their role as Student Governors
What is a student governor?
We are Joe and Claire and we are the current Student Governors. There are 2 student governors on the Board — one from students aged 16– 19 (Joe) and one from the Higher Education cohort (Claire) for students over 19.
The Governors are a group of people who are volunteers. Together they are known as ’The Board’ and have special responsibilities for making sure the College is run properly. The Board is responsible for setting the College’s direction, Budget and ensuring that the College provides the best quality teaching and learning.
The Board is made up of 19 governors from across the community. We use our experiences as students when helping the Board to make decisions. We work closely with governors to make sure students are at the heart of the decision-making process.
Student Governors also work with the Student Council to make sure that the students are at the heart of the decision-making process.
Student Governors are nominated and elected by the student body - the F.E. Student Governor by the 16-18 age students and the H.E. student by the 19+ age students studying at higher level.
What does being a student governor involve?
- Student Governors are highly valued - as first-hand users of the College, we have been able to give our views on important decisions being made. We have the opportunity to contribute to important College decisions, such as what the College is planning to do over the next few years.
- As Student Governors, we have got to understand how the College really works and have had the chance to meet and work with the Principal and other senior managers to develop the College. We were involved in developing the way the College listens to students.
- We have gained experience and understanding of what comes after College - like how meetings run, how to develop professional relationships and speak at meetings. Being a student governor will look good on a C.V. and develops our skill base.
- We have had the opportunity to work with lots of different people for the benefit for the College and seeing our hard work pay off to improve things from the student perspective has been a real confidence booster for us.
Want to find out more?
Watch out for information on Moodle, Facebook, Twitter and through your tutorials. This is a worthwhile role - so get involved!
Responsibilities of the Board are to
- Decide what the College ‘is’ and ‘does’
- Keep an eye on how the College is performing
- Ensure the College is solvent and its assets safeguarded
- Approve annual budgets
- Oversee the employment of the senior staff and Clerk and set the framework for the pay and conditions of service for all other staff.
As Student Governors, we’re expected to -
- Attend our Induction and other Student Governor support sessions to ensure we are prepared for meetings and understand our role – we can have a meeting with the Clerk that takes about an hour every other week but we can go at OUR own pace,;
- Read committee papers and reports, treating them as confidential – this can take a while, especially if the report is complicated. We’ve asked for papers to be made simpler, so we can understand them and the other governors have agreed to this. Governors use a lot of ‘traffic light’ reports, anything in ‘green’ means ‘good or better’ and anything ‘red’ needs looking at. This is a good way of understanding how the College is doing quickly;
Attend meetings and develop meeting skills – we’ve gained a lot more confidence in speaking at the meetings and really appreciated that, at the beginning when we were nervous, the other governors welcomed us and asked us direct questions on things.
- Participate, contribute, be positive, constructive and willing to consider new ideas – you get to hear a lot! The governors all work very well together and understand how important their role is. They talk through things carefully and make sure they understand how the decisions they make an impact on us students.
- Ensure we’re not distracted from our studies. We’ve had support from our tutors in attending meetings and events – although we do have to catch up on homework and assignments – you can’t get out of that!
- Share responsibility for decisions that are taken by us at formal meetings. We’ve had to sign that we agree to the Board’s Code of Conduct, which sets out how governors should behave and places a lot of importance of governors acting in the best interests of the College and its students.
- Ask if we need help! We’ve had a lot of support from the Clerk and other governors to help us in our role. Governors have to keep their knowledge up-to-date, just like students do, so they do training and learning as well.
The College exists for its students; so the views of students are important to ensure that our best interests are reflected in the decision making processes that take place by governors.
Becoming a Student Governor has been a very valuable experience so far which also enhances any university application or employment CV.