Governors' code born of co-operation

9th February 1996 at 00:00
I refer to Bob Doe's article, "Welcome to the rule-free zone" (TES, February 2). Contrary to the statements in its opening paragraphs, there is no question of there having been a battle over interference in school management issues in the working party seeking to establish a model code of practice for governing bodies.

The National Association of Head Teachers is happy to have helped in getting the project off the ground and is equally happy to have had its contribution, along with that of Action on Governor Information and Training, redrafted by an external professional writer to create a cohesive document of principles and procedures, which is currently called Good Governance.

Over recent months, we have worked hard in a spirit of mutual respect, concern and co-operation to produce a document which should be of considerable value to governing bodies and heads working together for effective schools.

Most of the comments quoted in your article have been made at meetings during recent months and all have been debated. The document as it now stands is an amalgam of two original papers provided by NAHT and AGIT with extremely positive and valuable contributions from the Secondary Heads Association and the governing body associations. It contains an absolute minimum of references to statutory instruments, and consists almost entirely of good practice as agreed by the associations involved. In addition, and very importantly, it provides extensive advice on the role and the duties of headteachers as they relate to the functions of governing bodies.

The associations are preparing to release the document for consultation among their wider memberships and it is highly regrettable that someone should choose to use destructive strategies before governing bodies and heads may judge it for themselves, individually or through their associations.

As is made very clear in the introduction, the document is not an imposition, and has no legal standing. It is a simple model, an example of good practice which is excellently illustrated by the brief extracts which you quote. Governing bodies may accept it as it stands or take it as the starting point for their own discussions.

Simon Goodenough, chairman of the National Governors' Council, is quite right: it must be simple and user-friendly and capable of being read and appreciated by a harassed governor. That, we hope, is what it will be if everyone faces up to the issues positively.

DONALD CRAIG National council member National Association of Head Teachers 15 Wingate Road, Liverpool 17

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