The scene was set as 90 plus attendees arrived for the CoLP School Governing Body (SGB) Selection and Functionality Panel Discussion at the University of the Western Cape on Thursday 5th February.
As the first CoLP event for 2015 commenced, after a welcome by host Merlinda Abrahams, Prof Kobus Visser (UWC) extended a welcome to the guests on behalf of the University and there-after Helene Brand (MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet) spoke about the work the organisation does and how the participants in the workshop can get involved and raise funds for their schools or organisations.
After a brief introduction, the panel, consisting of Redewan Larney (Chief Education Specialist of the Western Cape Education Department), Marius Ehrenreich (National President of the South African Principal's Association), Tim Gordon (CEO) & Malcolm Venter (Executive Officer) of the Governing Body Foundation tackled the subject matter with vigour and imparted invaluable information regarding the upcoming SGB elections.
Touching on the importance of well-functioning SGBs, choosing the right team to lead the school and the need to involve community members in the governing of our schools, the panel presented their cases in a spirited manner, arousing laughter and earnest note-taking as the afternoon session progressed.
Redewan Larney mentioned the importance of school SGB members having the adequate training to fulfil their roles and duties in the school. This sentiment was echoed by his fellow panellists as well. He went further to mention the WCED’s 3-year training framework for SGB governance, which was received well by all present and highlighted the importance of having a well-governed and able-bodied SGB in place in our schools.
As the session drew to a close, the panel fielded questions from the attendees, ranging from whether schools need indemnity cover to the importance of training of SGB members in their home-languages.
One point raised remains with us still; plan your SGB elections around your community’s timetable and research when are the best times and days to hold your elections to ensure that everyone has a say in how your schools are governed.
This was, indeed, an amazing start to another year of CoLP sessions.