Monthly Archives: September 2014

A self- improving school system: When Governing Bodies collaborate

This is a follow up to the blog I wrote during August about the value of peer to peer challenge and support in a self-improving school system http://wp.me/p4cGdC-1x. At the time I made reference to plans for the Heads and Chairs of Governors of the four schools in our Challenge and Support partnership to meet. That meeting happened this afternoon.

Meeting offsite in a hotel with a nice buffet lunch to greet us was conducive to a welcome where we could introduce ourselves to each other more informally. The invitation to meet had been extended to include vice-chairs too and two of the schools including my own had both both Chairs and Vice Chairs present. On reflection as the afternoon progressed we felt having both there was  positive both in terms of discussion during the afternoon and for our next steps for development. The afternoon was facilitated in the same way as our other strategic group meetings which again allowed all of us to fully participate in discussion rather than taking the responsibility of leading and managing the group.

Whilst it was a relaxed and friendly afternoon, in not much more than 2 hours we covered many significant areas of discussion which we had opportunities to discuss both in our own school groups, in mixed school groups and as a whole group. This included:

What are the strength of our own schools and how do we know?

What are the strengths of our governing  bodies and how do we know?

( The shared strengths included features such as  having a good / well informed clerk, having a ethos where challenge from governors as well as support is encouraged, utilising governor skills and expertise effectively, having well attended meetings and having governors that show genuine passion and care for the school, being well planned and organised e.g. around agendas / subcommittees and having governors who also were willing to learn and develop)

What are the areas of development of the governing body and what are we doing about it?

(The shared areas for development included having more developed succession planning within the governing body and increasing the amount of governors direct involvement in areas of school other than meeting)

We shared and discussed key documentation including the most up to date Ofsted inspection handbook section on leadership and management with particular reference to Governance and also had discussion about governors knowledge and understanding of some of the most recent issues such as assessment without levels and the thorny issue of ‘British Values’

Our afternoon ended with an opportunity to discuss in our own school groups what we felt our priority areas for development are for the next 12 months and what our next steps to reaching those would be.

As for future collaboration: Email addresses have been exchanged and opportunities for Chairs to attend each other’s Governing Body meetings have been established. There has also been some initial discussion about setting up ‘accountability panels’ where heads and governors from one school could present their school self evaluation to a panel of heads and govs from the other schools to extend the level of challenge and support / external self -evaluation…..an idea to be discussed and developed further in due course………………..

Whilst we have lots of discussions on all of the above listed questions / aspects within our own school, having the space and time to do so away from school and with Headteachers, Chairs and Vice-chairs from other schools has been a really valuable way of developing our own thinking. A really good afternoon – I would recommend it!

 

 

Supporting a good cause and having fun at the same time! Sweet dreams charity diary

Doesn’t seem two minutes since @cazzwebbo sent me a message asking me if I would be willing to be involved in a charity diary to raise funds for @famholidayassoc http://www.familyholidayassociation.org.uk/ and here we are with the diary almost at completion as Carol tells us in her updated blog http://t.co/y5FEUxFPDH

In the year and a bit I have been on twitter, I have learned it is full of people who are supportive and generous and this project is a good example. Carol herself has worked tirelessly to get us to this point and many other people both directly involved in the diary and indirectly have given their time, support and in many cases contributed financially.

What I also know about the people on twitter is that they like to have fun and having all worked so hard to get the diary together, it is now time to do just that! We have a launch event organised for Friday 28th November which whether you are directly involved in the calendar or not will be a great chance to meet up with twitter folks and have a really nice evening. It’sn Manchester which is a bit of a journey for some of you I know but why not combine it with an overnight stay and a Christmas shopping trip in Manchester on the Saturday?

Let me tell you a bit about the evening’s plans so far………………

You will have a glass of something fizzy on arrival, a disco, a lovely buffet , @jillberry102 and a representative from the Family Holiday Association speaking and  @rachelOrr singing. You will also have the opportunity to experience a 4D interactive beach experience courtesy of 4D Creative http://4dcreative.co.uk/products/4d-pop-up/ You can of course buy your copy of the diary which will be on sale on the night!

There are a number of people who need to be mentioned in terms of their contributions to the evening…………..

I am really grateful to my hardworking and supportive Governing Body for allowing us to use @CamberwellPark School for the evening. I am also really grateful to @stevecoates72 who in addition to being one of my Assistant Headteachers, also DJs and is running the disco for us on that evening. I am grateful to Cherryl @Cherrylkd and Carolyn @clyn40 for supporting with the organisation of the evening. I was delighted to get a message from @louise_mitton from 4D Creative who seeing the adverts for the event and the good cause it is for has generously offered to bring along a beach scene pop up for the evening. ( as in the link above). Thank you also to Jill , the reps from FHA and Rachel for their contributions – all ingredients of a really nice evening out!

So what’s stopping you? Come and join us:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sweet-dreams-2015-charity-diary-launch-party-tickets-12899521817

P,s – I am in the calendar – check out  June when you get your copy. Want a clue ? See below!!

calendar hint

 

Look forward to meeting you on the 28th November

 

Mary