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School Development plan and governors

Discussion in 'Governors' started by GARB05, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I dont have an answer but can relate to this. I have been a governor for a couple of years and i too believe that while the head teacher may add the detail, the SIP or SDP is the one key document that should provide governors a tool to ensure the school is developing.
    I have examples of good strategic use of the SDP where it is set out as a business plan for 3 years, this allows the governors to look at the stratgic vision of the school, budgets, succession planning rather than a tactical year plan.
    I would really welcome a joined up collective approach on this as I'm sure there are too many governors facing the same issue, which should not exist. Lets gain agreement centrally so we can stop this waste and frustration.
    I look forward to other replies to help us both.
     
  2. This a tough one. You will have to weigh up the pros and cons of rocking the boat. Ultimetely the SDP is a policy document and all policies belong to the GB. I would start by having an informal off site chat with the HT (perhaps with your vice-chair also present). Explain that it is legally your (the GB)'s duty to formulate in conjunction with the SMT (and other staff as appropriate) policies including the SDP and that the final say on the contents of these ultimately resides with the GB (take guidance with you). Hopefully this will resolve things.
     
  3. If the informal meeting does not work then your next step is probably to put the SDP on the agenda of the next FGB (or appropriate sub-committee) and either simply reject it or table and pass the ammendments you. At this stage the HT and SMT can only fail to follow the plan if you are asking them to do something illegal.

    Be warned though that you may soon be looking for a new HT!
     
  4. After this the next step if there is still an issue is to call a meeting of the HT performance committee and pass a target that the HT should ensure that ammended SDP is implemented including adding this target to all SMT targets. Then if there usstill an issue you have documented grounds for misconduct by the HT. again exoect to be looking for a new HT!!!
     
  5. Hopefully you wont need these nuclear options. I have never needed them in 10 years of chairing but i have, as a risk management exercise, worked out whatmight be required. Also of course youcan seek advice from the lea, sponsors etc. and you do need to be sure that GB is 100% behind each step.
     
  6. Great thread [​IMG]
     
  7. Yes great thread. My understanding is that the governors are there to support and challenge, ie support where they agree /like the proposals and question to open up a discussion or debate where they don't, with a view to gaining understanding or offering a different perspective to consider. Both of these roles are reactive by nature and crucial to the leadership of the school, a bit like the role of the second chamber at Westminster. They are not there to lead on developments, that is the job of the professional that they have appointed to run the school - the headteacher isn't it?
     
  8. Yes. There is a balance to be had. The OP hasn't provided details of what the issues within the SDP are and I would hope that my first suggestion would lead to resolution. Legally ultimate responsibility for a school's policies and their implementation lies with the Governors. There is nothing wrong with the GB leading on appropriate areas of policy development. For example the decision to investigate and possibly become an Academy is the GB's remit. To refer to your example of the bicamaral system in the UK Government - the House of Lords is largely there for its role in revising and acting as the "critical friend" but legilsation can be started there too!
     
  9. Thanks for all the replies.
    The issue is that in the past the HT has drawn up the SDP, it has then been presented to the Governors, who have then rubber stamped it. We now have alot of new governors on the GB who want to exercise their strategic role. They see this as actually setting the yearly objectives in the SDP, and then even putting the meat on the bones. The head sees this as her role as the professional.
    This year we have made some steps forward with alot of conceeding on schools part. However when we all tried to work together to put together the SDP for next year it reached stalemate. The HT and team refusing to change their thoughts and the Govs demoralised as they haven't been influential.
    I suppose I am looking for an answer to the following - The guide to the law and various other docs say that the GB should set the strategic direction of the school, setting the aims and objectives. So how do we do that? Is the SDP the place to set the aims and objectives or is this just a working doc to get us to work towards aims and objectives we set elsewhere.
    It doesn't help that a couple of our Govs are VERY challenging and this leads to defence mechanisms being thrown in by the HT - this is being dealt with by me.
    Any thoughts gratefully received.
    Thanks
     
  10. I suppose the answer is to have regular open discussions to agree the strategic direction of the school, which would then be reflected in the SDP. However, it must be remembered that the HT is the professional expert, that is why she was appointed and some careful thought needs to be given as to why the governors do not agree with her direction. Do they believe the head is incompetent or lazy? Do the governors fully understand their role? Do the governors have the best interest of the children at heart or are they flexing their muscles to stroke their own egos? Has the school got an agreed set of aims, vision and mission statement? In my experience VERY challenging governors fall into 2 camps, either they are on the board to pander to their own ego, or they are unsure of their role and need training.
    Personally I would find it impossible to lead a school in a direction that was in conflict with my values or against my better judgement and I am not surprised that the head is being defensive as it is her professional judgement that is being questioned here. That is not to say that the governors can't challenge, of course they can and they must, but if at the end of that challenge process if there is not some alignment in thinking then someone (head? governors?) is not right for the school.
     
  11. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    The head is the person who could/ would lose their job if the school were to go in decline. It's not in her interests to lead the school in the wrong direction. As seagirl has said the head and the SLT are professionals with years of training and relevant experience. They will also have been informed through la training of the current educational priorities and how their school needs to adapt to meet the demands of the new tough ofsted criteria. When the governors appoint a head they're investing their trust in that person to do what is best for the school. If the governors feel that the head isn't doing that then they have a problem. Even with the most involved governors and the best lines of communication it is hard for governors to know everything which is going on in school ( and there are some things they shouldn't know for confidentiality reasons which may have an impact on the decisions the head makes). I have worked with 6 governing bodies in good or outstanding schools and I have never worked with a GB that has written the SDP. The governors have always respected the head and slts professionalism and insight and been happy to accept an outline SDP which is then discussed and amended as necessary. Personally, if I felt that the governors didnt trust me enough to know what was best for the school and the children and how to get them there I'd be wondering why they appointed me and I'd be looking for another job. After 20+ years working in schools I think I have enough experience to write an SDP and I'd question why a governor felt the need to be VERY challenging, unless of course there's an issue with poor leadership which has been identitfied by an external agency (ofsted, LA) or results are on a downward trend with no apparent reason (SEN etc) if that's the case then that's a different matter entirely.
     
  12. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes the reasons given for the Governors wanting to be more involved in crafting and drafting the SDP do sound a bit strange - wanting to be "more influential" etc. Yes if there are important issues that the SDP as drafted by the head does not tackle but, otherwise, why employ a dog and bark yourself?
    If it ain't broke don't fix it. This all sounds as though it will make the GB's job harder if there is ever a tough issue for the school that you all have to tackle together.
     
  13. Hair Shirt

    Hair Shirt New commenter

    That is what the governors in the OP wanted to do isn't it?
    Such as?
     

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