Time for follow-my-leader

11th July 2008 at 01:00
Now is the time of year for chairs of governors to ponder whether or not to continue
Now is the time of year for chairs of governors to ponder whether or not to continue. Having been a chair for four years, I have been asking myself some searching questions. Would the school benefit from a new leader with new ideas and drive? Are there people waiting in the wings to take on the role? How well have I planned for my succession?

Distributive leadership - the current buzz phrase in schools - applies to governing bodies just as much as to headteachers for sharing out leadership tasks among the senior team.

I chair a governing body with two vice-chairs, 10 governors and two committees - resources, and performance and standards - for a small school. I attend committee meetings, but have distributed the 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 whenever I am not available, and we all share information via email. Leadership roles for health and safety and school buildings are distributed to governors with expertise in these areas. They take care of the relevant policies and supervise building work taking place. So, through distributive leadership, have I given sufficient experience to governing body members for anyone to want to take on the chair's role?

Another factor which will influence decisions is how efficiently the governing body operates. We have a well trained and experienced clerk; policies and procedures for updating are all in place; and a governing handbook and an annual planner, developed with the clerk and headteacher, guide the work of the governing body and its committees throughout the year. The governors are well informed through attendance at training and membership of the Devon Association of Governors and standard National Governors' Association membership. Will my succession planning activities succeed for 2008-09? Only time will tell.

Carol Woodhouse, Chair of governors, Musbury Primary, Devon.

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