From my perspective as Chair, (and most Chairs are there not because they are hugely enthusiastic to do the job but because they are the ones who didn’t say ‘No’ when asked), it is quite alarming how much we are expected to know and do and we only get away with not knowing or not doing them, because no-one checks and if events don’t expose any shortfalls.
Distributed leadership within a governing body is essential. Governing bodies cannot do everything so looking at the skill set of governors and deploying accordingly is often the best way forward. Sharing workload and working to the strengths of governors is hugely beneficial – it promotes ownership and effective partnership working. So, if you haven’t already completed a governing body skills audit, why not have a look.
Some thoughts to reflect on:
The governing body self-review exercise is an excellent way of looking at the work of the governing body to see they have everything in place.
The self-evaluation template may seem overwhelming at first glance but you can approach it in small steps initially, to just get an overview of where you are as a governing body. We all want to improve what we do, so allowing some time for reflection is a great way to start and can be therapeutic!
The role of the Chair is not an easy one. Governors Cymru Services has a guide to assist Chairs with their work.
If you are a new chair, it may be useful to have a mentor chair or join up from time to time, with Chairs of governors in your school cluster group or Governor Improvement Group.
There are distinct areas of work that the governing body needs to complete on a yearly basis. Does your governing body have a schedule of work that can be adapted to your own school’s need?
You might want to look at Part 2 of the governor handbook that provides information on delegation of responsibilities and a schedule of work planner. Governors Cymru Services has some lovely examples of how governing bodies work which might be of assistance.
Estyn also has examples of effective governor practice:
Supporting governors to fulfil their role more effectively