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Sharing the Role of the Chair of Governors

25 Aug

Part 3 of the School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances)(England) Regulations 2013 explains the process of electing the chair and vice chair.   As the role of the chair has become distinctly onerous in recent times, finding a governor who is willing to stand for this position has become daunting.   A solution would be for two governors to share that role.

The Department for Education’s (DfE’s) advice states that “It is possible to appoint more than one person to share the role of chair, or, similarly, the role of vice chair, if the board believes this is … the best interests of the school.   The board would need to ensure that any role-sharing arrangement does not lead to a loss of clarity in its leadership.” (Item 18) Continue reading

Effective Headteachers: In quest of the Holy Grail

25 Aug

(1)       Expectations

Headteachers of schools[1] live on the edge.   They work interminable hours and are expected to be all things to all people. Among other things, headteachers are required to engage in strategic planning, managing and supporting staff, working with parents, promoting the standards and welfare of pupils, working in partnership with other schools, dealing with a multitude of changes including the curriculum and assessment and being accountable to parents, governing bodies, the Department for Education (DfE) and, most of all, Ofsted.      Continue reading

Honing the effectiveness of the Chair of Governors

13 Apr

I           Introduction

All governors are equal but there is a case to be made for stating that some governors are more equal than others – in particular, two – the chair and unless s/he has decided not to be a governor, the headteacher.  How well they perform, more often than not, determines how well the rest of the governors do.  To round the effectiveness circle, the clerk to the governors, who is not a governor, must operate with efficiency and aplomb if the governing body is to succeed.   This article focuses on the role of the chair and the knowledge, skills and commitment required of her/him to shape an excellent governing body. Continue reading

Making Missions Statements Meaningful

3 Jan

The principal, overarching function of a school governing body is to set a strategy for the school to develop and grow.  Governors do this in myriad ways, many of them right and some less so.   Occasionally, governors decide to go on an away-day once annually or biennially to review how they (and the school) have been doing and set the objectives and strategy for the future.   Others decide to do this with less frequency – i.e. once every three or four years.

A few governing bodies leave the construction of the strategy to their headteachers – who, in conjunction with their staff members – especially the members of the senior management teams – review the school’s strengths and weaknesses, audit the opportunities and threats in their environments and pull together the objectives and the School Development Plans (SDPs) for the following year, two years or three.  These SDPs are then presented to their governing bodies for comment.  Given the constraints of time at meetings, more often than not, they are rubber-stamped and approved with little or no comment.

Continue reading

£7.4 million to set aside to develop future primary school leaders

25 Aug

On 6 June 2014, David Laws, Minister of State for schools, announced a scheme, Teaching Leaders Primary, to help develop primary school leaders of the future. The scheme, which is being run by the charity, Teaching Leaders, will recruit primary teachers already working in challenging schools with the potential to become outstanding leaders. They will go through a two-year training programme intended to develop their skills and help them get the most from pupils.

Altogether, 160,000 primary-aged children from disadvantaged backgrounds will benefit over the next four years. In its first year, the programme will be open to 1,200 primary teachers in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and in specific areas of need – like Hull, Norfolk and Blackpool.

David Laws said, “This funding will allow Teaching Leaders to expand their success with promising teachers in secondary schools to those at primary level. Now primary teachers with the potential to be outstanding heads will get the support they need to become the best school leaders of tomorrow.”

Schools were invited to apply to enlist outstanding middle leaders and applications closed on 19 June 2014.  The programme began in August 2014.   (See here for more information).