Review by Julia Skinner

Retired headteacher who is now a trustee and founder of the 100 Word Challenge

4 May 2019, 5:00


Julia Skinner’s top blogs of the week 29 April 2019

Six months in . . . chair v marathon?


Who would have thought there were several similarities between being a chair of a board and training for the London marathon? This is an appropriately pacey piece from Vicci Wells who (hopefully) completed the London marathon last Sunday. She has selected four areas that each role shares – clarity, understanding the direction and that it may change, building a team and knowing your super power. The post helps to emphasise the energy that governance needs

Alright guv’nor? – how to support schools by being more evidence informed


I was recently involved in a Twitter conversation about training for governors and trustees: where it should come from and whether it should be mandatory. This post from Phil Naylor shows that the role of a school governor is no longer the model that we know and love from the Vicar of Dibley. As Naylor points out, that can scare a great number from stepping forward. He cites the report from the Education Endowment Foundation on becoming an evidenced informed governor that, for him, short-cut some of his learning from experienced colleagues.

Reflections of a pilot school (new Ofsted framework)


Although Mr B is a headteacher rather than a governor, I’m including this post as it is a great snapshot of the recent pilot inspections carried out by Ofsted. Although there are no gradings or reports written for the estimated 200 pilots that were carried out, this post is an excellent “handbook”, for the preparation schools should be considering and the differences in the new framework. I was particularly interested in some of the areas that have generated heated debates on social media, including the “extra” afternoon for inspectors to prepare, the lack of internal data and the focus on leadership.

Let’s get ethical – culture, ethos and ethical leadership


Rosemary Hoyle gets right to the nub of her post when she asks governors: are you doing the right thing or just saying the right thing? Her school is part of the Pathfinder for the Ethical Leadership project, but many of the conversations her board has had will have been echoed in other schools. Reflections of vision and values often come to the agendas of school boards, but what do we actually DO about them. Hoyle shares some of the things her team are working on – hopefully other pathfinder schools will also be able to add to the conversation.

Pillow talk


My clerk has just found Fee Stagg’s blog and has told me that she is now a “diehard” Elbow fan. As regular readers of these reviews will know, I love her quirky, often humorous way of exploring the world of governance. In this piece she looks at conflicts of interest. Highlighting related-party transactions that have been hitting the headlines recently is probably easier to spot, but what about unconscious bias? As usual, there are no answers from Stagg, just some great questions to ask ourselves.

Life is short – a realisation


Although this post has been shared on social media I feel it is a rallying call for all of us working in education. We are in a caring profession that is developing our citizens of the future. We have many challenges, but unless we look after each other we will not do any sort of job and will let our young generation down. So, if you are a chair, a governor or a clerk, please remember to look beyond the minutes and reports and make sure you see the human beings behind them. Then, take care of yourselves!

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