A summary of the Workshop on the Roles and Responsibilities of SGBs

Participants at the SGB workshop: Jean Human, Mr Schippers, Margaret Smart and Janie Ross at tea break


Today's SGB session started of with a lovely comraderie spirit. It often takes only a few hours of learning together in a healthy, collaborative space. You break down barriers very quickly. Human beings are wired to be communal and if the situation removes all threats, you will find spontaneous community building.

Ivan Carr summarized the key responsibilities of the SGB: policy design, financial management, administration and school development. The energy peaked during this session. The volley of questions and contributions from the participants were weighty, but based on their real experiences as school governors. The participants were reminded of their roles of managing the governance which includes the development of the school.

Then the focus shifted to Discipline and the School's Code of conduct for learners. One could see the interest of the governors. Here they were going to get all the finer details to suspend the learner or, even better, have the learner expelled. However, the facilitator, Ivan, flipped the discussion on discipline.

Ivan Carr, the facilitator, chatting to delegate from Square Hill


He reminded the group that a Code of Conduct should primarily promote restorative justice. Healthy, relationship-building should be the driver and not the linear, punitive discipline process that dominates the management of learner behaviour. Ivan essentially managed to get the group to interrogate their practices to modify learner behaviour and highlighted the absence of clear, rehabilitative steps in school discipline policies. I enjoyed this outlook, because it is the norm for schools to adopt a one-sided approach, except in the cases where serious transgressions such as drug use and violence are involved.


The lengthy robust discussion on the management of learner discipline was coupled with the SGBs function to build the school community within a caring, supportive, uplifting environment.


Fuad Viljoen, educator and parent, Mr Steyn from Sibelius High School

There was interesting sharing of practices to build a caring, nurturing, learning community. Marine Primary explained that their SGB organise an Open Day coordinated by all the churches that use their school buildings. The funds raised are then donated to the school. Mike Tyali shared how the more fortunate families are allowed to make donations of food in boxes. These food parcels will then be shared with deserving families.


The time flew. The delegates enjoyed today's session, there was so much to learn about governance. One of the parent governors said we should have more such sessions and he can see us having an SGB breakaway soon. The applause and the supporting commentary from the house indicate we need to follow through with this idea. We need to sustain the momentum and capitalize on the SGBs energy and their willingness to learn. After all, our schools and undoubtedly our learners will benefit.


Mike Tyali and one of his parents





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