It's the time of year to make resolutions. If you're like me, you make them first thing on January 1 and forget them by the afternoon. However, if you plan to stick with your resolutions, here are some suggestions.
I resolve not to interrupt during meetings when others are speaking. Always difficult to resist if someone is making a lengthy speech that's nothing to do with the agenda item.
I resolve to read the papers before meetings. Of course, I know no governor ever gets to a meeting without having thoroughly read the papers and made extensive notes of the important points. Probably every governor with the exception of me because I must admit that sometimes I've just been so busy, etc, etc.
I resolve to get out of the headteacher's office when I visit the school. It's important that governors get into the school, not just the headteacher's office. It's almost impossible to know what's going on just by attending meetings.
I resolve to focus on the big picture and not spend endless time on detail. The problem with sticking to this resolution is the attraction of discussing the cost of the new kettle in the staffroom and whether more extensive research would have produced a better result? This is often seen as much more interesting than focusing on performance.
I resolve not to produce papers for meetings so late that they have to be passed around at the meeting. (This one is mainly for chairs and headteachers.) Discussing a budget spreadsheet that has just been put in front of you is no way to monitor what you're spending.
Finally, I resolve to take at face value all pronouncements from the Government.
Alan Wells, Chair of governors at a north-east London primary.