Dave has very recently been elected as a parent governor at his daughter's primary school. She is in Year 1. He was very excited about taking on this commitment but is now becoming somewhat anxious. This is because, for the last couple of weeks, a number of parents have asked him to take their concerns about various aspects of the teaching at the school to the governing body. All the issues being raised are different and seem to him relatively minor, but he is not sure what to say to these parents, particularly as he has no background in teaching himself.
Dave needs to be clear that he is a representative of the parents but is not their delegate. It is not his responsibility to take individual concerns of parents to the governing body or to anyone else for that matter. His job on the governing body is to help solve problems affecting all parents and to make sure that the school communicates well with them. When it comes to taking a line at governors' meetings, he should listen carefully to the views of other governors on an issue, as well as following his own convictions, and come to a balanced view as an individual.
In the cases currently troubling him, he should listen sympathetically but impartially and encourage the parents to take their concerns in the first instance to the class teacher. Failing an outcome that satisfies them there, they should then go to the headteacher. If he feels that a parent is timid or lacking in confidence, he might offer to accompany him/her, but only to lend moral support, not to "take sides".
A parent governor is a vital link between the school and the collective parent body. It is important therefore that Dave makes himself known to parents in whatever ways he can eg. attending parent association meetings if such associations exist, meeting parents at the school gates, going to events in school such as end of term concerts, school fairs and assemblies. Keeping his ear to the ground in this way will make him a very useful member of the governing body.