Prepare your heir

13th June 2008 at 01:00
It is the season for chairs to ponder whether or not to continue
It is the season for chairs to ponder whether or not to continue. A chair for four years, I ask myself, would the school benefit from a new chair with new ideas and drive? Are there others waiting in the wings to take on the role? How well have I planned for my successor?

"Distributive leadership", the buzz word in schools for sharing out leadership tasks among the senior leadership team, applies to governing bodies just as much as to headteachers. I chair a small governing body, with 10 governors, two vice-chairs and two committees. I attend committee meetings, but have distributed leadership of both to others. The committee chairs work with the clerk to compile agendas, agree agenda papers and approve minutes. The two vice-chairs work together to lead the governing body when I am not available. And we all share information via email. Leadership roles for health and safety and buildings are also distributed to governors with expertise in these areas. So, through distributive leadership, I hope to have given sufficient experience to other governing body members for someone to be able to take on the chair.

Another factor in passing on the baton is to make sure the governing body operates efficiently. We have a well-trained clerk, policies and procedures for updates in place, a governing handbook and an annual planner to guide our work through the year. Governors are well informed through training and membership of the Devon Association of Governors and the National Governors' Association.

So will my succession-planning activities succeed for 20089? Only time will tell.

Carol M Woodhouse, Chair of Governors, Musbury Primary School, Axminster.

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