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The school governor

Have you got to grips yet with the new PM? No, not Gordon Brown, but the revised performance management arrangements for schools.

The system has new rules on objectives, classroom observations and links with pay. The governing body is responsible for setting the school's policy for which a model was circulated by the Rewards and Incentives Group earlier in the year but its main involvement in the process is in conducting the performance management of the headteacher. This has to be completed by December 31.

If you have been one of the governors charged with this in the past, you will have had to set objectives in three predetermined areas. This is no longer the case. Not only can there be any number of objectives, but they can be on any aspect of the head's work. However, don't go mad, as setting more than four militates against clarity and focus.

In setting the head's objectives you are effectively determining the school's priorities. Objectives should relate to the school development plan and self evaluation form.

In my school, we have been celebrating improved GCSE results, but there is still a long way to go and this year's objectives will almost certainly include further improvement.

The objectives should be precise: "better results in English GCSE" won't do, but "raise the percentage of A*-C GCSE passes in English from 50 to 55" is clear to everyone.

You are not on your own. Your school improvement partner, or external adviser in primaries not yet allocated a school improvement plan, is there to advise you: talk to them first about how to do this.

Don't make the objectives too easy. Performance feeds directly into pay decisions and you don't want to find yourselves giving the head a spine point next year just for having turned up each day. We know what the PM thinks about non-performance related pay increases in the public sector.

Stephen Adamson

Vice-chair, National Governors Association

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