The school governor - Now is the time for stocktaking

5th September 2008 at 01:00
How do we know how well our governing body is performing? Around the start of the school year, governors should be considering whether we are doing all those things that will make us as good - outstanding even - as we can be.

Have we been planning properly, setting aims, objectives, principles and targets? And do we conscientiously devise and oversee policies so the school is doing what we want?

Do we monitor performance, using the headteacher's report, our committees, visits to the school, attachments to areas of the school's work and questionnaires, to ensure that we are doing what we planned? And are we fully engaged in the self-evaluation process?

Are we evaluating the achievements of the school using a range of performance indicators, not just the obvious ones? Are pupils achieving what we want them to achieve?

Are we conducting the executive functions we have - recruiting, selecting, retaining and developing staff, managing the budget with proper regard to the Government's Financial Management Standard in Schools, and managing the premises - in the best way we can?

Are we representing our governing body constituents - the parents, staff and local community - effectively? Are we liaising with the local authority where we need to? Are we communicating and consulting appropriately with parents?

Overall, do we play a strong role in the management of the school, as outstanding governors do? They have an exceptionally good understanding of its strengths and weaknesses and the capacity to support and challenge its work. Can we honestly say that we challenge the school's performance as effectively as we support it? And how well do we challenge ourselves?

Nigel Gann, Chair of governors of a secondary school and an education consultant specialising in leadership and governance issues.

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