Most organisations have a risk register, but while risk assessments are common in schools, registers are not.
A good risk register sets out the main dangers faced by an organisation. Often in business these are financial, but it can include anything that would have an impact on the business.
Developing such a risk register can minimise threats to a school's performance. So what should you include in it? Of course, the budget is a risk - an overspend or some projected income not arriving - but there are other, just as important dangers.
Some risk registers have complex scoring systems, but I believe in keeping it simple. Anything too complicated will probably be more trouble than it's worth. It's best to focus on rating the impact of something happening as very high, high, low or very low and the likelihood of something happening as very likely, likely, not very likely or highly unlikely. So, for example, the school burning down would have a major impact, but is unlikely.
The register is only any good, however, if it includes actions to mitigate likelihood and if it is monitored regularly by governors. For instance, if most of the senior management team retire at the same time, there's likely to be a pretty serious impact on the performance of the school. Good succession planning will mitigate this risk and reduce the impact on the school's performance.
Of course, you can't eliminate risks entirely, but a good register will manage them.
Alan Wells, Chair of governors at a north-east London primary.