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Leadership webinar: the head’s relationship with the governing body (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Many heads enjoy fruitful relationships with their governing body. Others, however, do not. And when things aren't working, this has repercussions for the whole school.

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Richard Levinge, founder of Ease Training.

    We will examine examples of how a head can manage difficult relationships with key governors and how they can help the body as a whole be more effective.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on January 11 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Richard and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.

    1920x1080-leadership-video-still-v2.jpg

    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
     
  2. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to the fourth in our series of webchats aimed at school leaders.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member Richard Levinge, will be available for the next hour to answer your questions on how a head can manage difficult relationships with key governors and how they can help the body as a whole be more effective.

    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.


    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.



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  3. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to a live webchat with Richard Levinge, founder of Ease Training, on the head's relationship with the governing body and other governance issues. Welcome, Richard. Could I begin by asking about the overall quality of school governance at the moment?
     
  4. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Recent experience shows that there is an increasing professionalism amongst school governors, a great willingness to learn and wider range of skills available. However there is a great lack of training available which means that there are some areas of vulnerability. Specifically confidence in school data, and the skills to challenge are areas that need to be addressed.
     
  5. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the issues regarding those two key areas of governance?
     
  6. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    The new Governance Handbook is vital reading for existing and new governors as it gives greater emphasis on the absolute need for at least one governor on a governing body to be able to comfortably interpret the school assessment data, performance tables, RAISE online etc. It also updates the required governor behaviours as regards to challenging the head and the school. The issues are that governors despite their excellent intentions don't always have sufficient depth of knowledge to act as the school scrutineer and to help the head and the senior management team by asking probing questions and by being able to identify the required areas of improvement in the school.
     
  7. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    At the risk of sounding like I'm advertising... TES has just published The Academy Governor's Handbook, which will be equally helpful!
    In your experience, how are heads' relationships with their governing bodies in general?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2016
  8. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

  9. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Like all relationships, they vary enormously. In general I have found that the Chair of Governors and Heads relate very well and their synergy can add a great deal to the school. This relationship is vital to the solution of a multitude of problems and in giving the Head both the support and the challenge that they require. If the relationship has broken down, it is very important that it is dealt with urgently as ultimately the governors are responsible for the school and must have absolute faith in the Head and vice versa.
     
  10. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.
     
  11. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Where are the biggest areas of concern for governors in the relationship?
     
  12. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    An increasing area of concern is the mounting complexity of the governor role and the ability to do it in the time available, bearing in mind they are volunteers and they may have jobs. Confidence of knowledge is a challenge, particularly in the light of the plethora of changes that are happening, especially with Academisation, the decreasing resources of local authorities, and the continued pressure from Ofsted. There is a risk that too much change will limit the pool of skills available to a governing body by making it too time consuming and complex without tangible reward.
     
  13. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Where are the biggest areas of concern for heads in the relationship?
     
  14. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    There needs to be a positive tension between the Head and the Chair of Governors. It is very clear in the Governance Handbook that the Head is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of their school. Their job is to implement the strategic framework established by the Governors. The Chair of Governors and his/her team are responsible for the strategy, NOT the day to day running of the school. The Head can get naturally frustrated by an overbearing Chair and interference in operational matters. The other area of concern is a strategy based on inadequate knowledge of the school rather than a properly facilitated process. However the Chair of Governors may have to intervene if a circumstance arises where the school may be failing in some area. This also often leads to tension.
     
  15. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What qualities does a head need to ensure that the relationship with their governors is effective?
     
  16. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Openness, patience and honesty. The Head must have the ability to have a robust conversation, to listen and the confidence to embrace feedback and to take clear and decisive action where required.
     
  17. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What can governors do and ask that a headteacher would find challenging yet valuable?
     
  18. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    They should ask for searching questions on the school data and performance, particularly where it seems to be anomalous or where there is a weakness. They should not stop asking until they are satisfied with the answer and proposed actions. The Head should not be able to cover up weak areas and should understand that it is the Governors' responsibility to challenge without being sensitive or feeling personally affronted.
     
  19. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How should a headteacher handle a complaint against the chair of governors?
     
  20. Richard_Levinge

    Richard_Levinge New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Seek advice. Talk to the Vice Chair if appropriate. Depending on the severity and type of complaint, discuss with the Local Authority or DfE to seek guidance. This may be a time to get early legal advice from an specialist education lawyer. The Head should not mention it to the Chair of Governors until he/she understands what type of process needs to be followed.
     

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