Made to measure

13th October 2000 at 01:00
Lynne Taylor's latest guide to performance management looks at the board of governors' role in the process

Facing the demands

To date, my experience with school governors has been limited to those in schools that I support directly, and then only a small proportion of these. Perhaps "my" schools are exceptional, but I have found their governors truly sensitive to the genuine needs of the school. They support the head and staff, and have their feet firmly on the ground when considering what realistically can and cannot be done. All do their utmost to promote the well-being of their school. You shouldn't really ask more of them than that, yet much more is now being demanded from our schools' governing bodies; demands that some will find very daunting to fulfil.

Most governors would be the first to admit that their knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of progression and performance within the curriculum is limited. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of governing bodies will oversee and evaluate a head's performance, which includes management of the curriculum. This month's Made to measure focuses on governor-related topics where ICT can support schools' performance management implementation.

Governing bodies and assessment

I feel sure that a governing body with a clear perception of the practicalities of a school's assessment policy can play a proactive role within their part of the performance management cycle. It would be arrogant to believe that only teachers can understand curriculum monitoring, recording and reporting. It is the methods of assessment delivery, and the responses to this, that perhaps only teachers fully understand, not the tracking process itself.

Understanding assessment

On the new Made to measure website, at www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit, you will find a simple summary of assessment processes. I'm sure your governing body's understanding of assessment will be greatly enhanced if they see this. Many schools now have IT suites where the Internet can be accessed, so why not schedule a governor's meeting here. You will find I have planned the rest of the meeting for you on the above site.

A presentation to governors

At www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit you will find ideas to help you liven up your presentations. Our "idiots" guide to using PowerPoint can be found here, and even if you don't have access to a copy of PowerPoint there are ways of seeing these presentations without having to purchase the software.

Schools will have already received a governor's presentation pack fromthe Department For Education And Employment (DFEE). There is a section in Performance Management Training For School Governors that contains a DFEE PowerPoint presentation. You can locate and download this on the DFEE Teaching Reforms site at www.dfee.gov.uk

How the governors fit in

A quick guide to who does what within the performance management tree (PMC= performance management consultant):

Subject - Reviewer

Classroom teacher - Team leader

Team leader - Senior management

Senior management - Head

Head - Governing body supported by a PMC

PMC- Regional centre evaluation process

In smaller schools some layers will not be necessary, for example it may be that the head reviews all the staff.

Region Centres and PMCs

Teachers who are not directly involved in performance management implementation may not be familiar with the organisations that have now been created to support the governing bodies' role in performance management.

Briefly, these regional centres have been set up (not LEA based) to support performance management in schools. There are nine regional centres in England. From these organisations, schools may obtain a list of accredited PMCs that can help implement the performance management arrangements. For more information visit www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit.

Evaluating performance

It is the responsibility of every school governing body to review the performance of its headteacher. They will be encouraged to purchase the support of PMCs who can also support and advise staff on planning, monitoring and effective change management. However, the governing body must still set objectives for the head to complete the performance review statement and to make recommendations regarding the head's pay. There is an excellent DFEE site dedicated to performance management at www.dfee.gov.uk.

What to do next

Things to do before the next edition of Performance Manager:

* Visit www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit.

* Get your governing body to visit www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit.

* Download the latest files

* Access the DFEE website for updates

* Share your experiences with us, please email me at cogentcs@aol.com

Next month we will show you effective use of ICT during the planning process of the performance management cycle.

Lynne Taylor runs Cogent Computer Solutions, based in Kenilworth. Questions can be emailed to cogentcs@aol.com

Previous assessment materials can be accessed on the TES Online website www.tes.co.ukonlineperformit


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