SEND Governor Questions: Five great tips for meetings with SENDCos
1. How often should the SEND governor meet the SENDCo?
Three times per year – about once a term.
In September, book all dates for the school year. This makes it easier to avoid busier times and also reduces the risk of time slipping away while you try (and sometimes forget) to organise each meeting individually.
The meetings can be remote, but at least one should be face to face so that the governor can see what SEND provision looks like for pupils.
If you plan for one hour, you are both responsible for sticking to that time and moving things along to make sure you’ve covered all the agenda. Sticking to time helps convey the message that you value each other’s time. It also helps you avoid getting stuck in the small details of one topic.
2. What should meetings cover?
It can be hard for new SENDCos or SEND governors to know what to cover. There’s lots we could talk about. How do we pick what to cover in a one hour meeting?
Helpfully, here’s our planner. It facilitates discussion on school improvement, with the SEND action plan, pupil outcomes, parent views, pupil views and accessibility plan at the heart of the planner.
3. What should a SEND Governor ask the SENDCo?
If you use the yearly planner above, you’ll probably find that your meetings flow. However, it can still be really helpful to see the kind of questions that might get asked more generally.
The guide covers a range of topics that you might drill down into (especially if they are included in the SEND action plan):
- School Improvement
- Our SEND Register
- Teaching & Learning
- Staff Training
- Plans for Pupils with SEND
- Co-Production and Parents
- Quick Questions on compliance
A helpful guide to SEND jargon can be found here to help governors to more easily understand the most common SEND terms.
4. What is ‘Lack of agency’ and why SEND governors need to know about it?
Our ‘sense of agency’ is how much we feel in control of events. A lack of agency happens when we feel like we’ve not much control over certain events.
Two common times when SENDCos feel like they have a lack of agency for are:
- EHCPs and funding
- SEND pupils lower down school (especially in your newest cohort)
SENDCos often find both of these hard to navigate and they often spend time discussing them. Talking things through can help any of us reflect and learn – great!
However, one risk is that discussions between Governors and SENDCos are over-dominated by these two issues. Use our meeting planner to help minimise the risk of this.
5. What stops the SEND governor and SENDCo meeting?
Some SEND governors are hesitant: “The SENDCo always seems so busy, I don’t want to add to their workload.” This is an understandable concern, but the truth is that meeting with the SEND governor is a normal part of the SENDCo job. So, we shouldn’t avoid meetings between the SEND Governor and SENDCo.
Another common issue is both parties waiting for the other to make contact.
- If you’re the governor, assume the SENDCo is busy and it’ll fall off their agenda. Therefore, you should make contact.
- If you’re the SENDCo, assume the volunteer governor is busy and it’ll fall off their agenda. Therefore, you should make contact.
In short, if you both assume it’s your responsibility, then the meetings are much less likely to fall off the agenda.
Finally, some governors aim for ‘gold standard’ of face to face. The pandemic showed us that lots of things can be done remotely. Whilst the SEND Governor should be visiting school at least once a year, remote meetings using Teams, Zoom etc are ok too. Remote meetings are also very helpful for SEND Governors who work as they can often be done without having to wait for annual leave.
Where can I get more info?
- Many Local Authorities offer training for both SEND Governors and SENDCos.
- The National Governors Association has info for new SEND Governors (this is a members only area).
- To ask questions or speak to us about anything in this article, get in touch