Review by Naureen Khalid

Chair of governors and trustee, Connect Schools Academy Trust

20 Mar 2021, 5:00


Naureen Khalid’s blogs of the week, 15 March 2021

Naureen Khalid casts her governor’s eye over this week’s blogs and picks four of the best, covering SEFs, promoting governors, notes on reopening, and making policies inclusive of women


Good Enough for Any SEF


Your community will not judge you using inspection frameworks

As school leaders and as governors, we are very familiar with the Self Evaluation Form (SEF). We spend a lot of time seeking evidence to put into it to prove the worth of what we do. David Rushby argues for a different, ‘softer’ form of evidence, namely the way the school is viewed for its engagement with its local community.

Rushby notes that he relishes being the head of a school in a tough area and changing people’s pre-conceptions. Your community, he says, will not judge you using inspection frameworks or statistical thresholds. Yet people talking favourably about your school is the most significant indication that what you are doing is working. Committing to our schools and communities in the effort to educate our children creates a virtuous cycle of improving reputation and outcomes.

There is no stronger argument for governors to routinely evaluate how we engage with our communities and what they think of our schools.


Raising the profile of governance professionals serving schools


A great place to start to raise awareness of schools’ unsung heroes

In this blog for The Chartered Governance Institute, National Governance Association CEO Emma Knights writes about her organisation’s efforts to raise the profile of governance professionals. Clerks and governance professionals play a pivotal role in effective governance and the NGA is campaigning to raise school governance visibility and, in March, is focusing on governance professionals.

Knights talks about how the role has evolved, especially with the growth of multi-academy trusts. In medium and larger trusts, they lead governance support across the trust and have oversight of Local Governing Body clerks.

Knights lists the various ways governance professionals can help raise their profile. She would like them to talk about the difference their support makes to the governance of organisations. She would also like them to complete the NGA’s clerks’ survey, nominate someone for an award in their Outstanding Governance Awards and take part in the annual conference for clerks and governance professionals. This blog is a great place to start to raise awareness of some of the unsung heroes of schools’ pandemic response.


The Kids Have Been Fantastic


It makes for a very reassuring post

Amid apprehension about how children (and adults) would cope with the March 8 ‘reopening’, Mark Enser and his wife, Zoe, reflected on their experience of the past week. Here, he notes their general sense of elation and tiredness, then sets out his own observations. It makes for a very reassuring post.

Despite mixed messages, Enser notes that secondary school children have generally complied with the requirement to wear masks. Like his own school, most appear to have organised lateral flow testing with far less disruption than feared. And as far as lost learning is concerned, although they have not learnt as much as they would have in class, his students have learnt geography! Some have flourished, while a small number have, unsurprisingly, learnt very little. But by and large children have been bored at home and are happy to be back.

In an excellent counterpoint to some of the catastrophising and calls for systemic change, Enser concludes that schools just need the funding to provide bespoke support and then be left alone to get on with it.


We #ChoosetoChallenge


The post covers a raft of sensitive topics

The MTPT Project has used this year’s International Women’s Day theme #ChoosetoChallenge to write a blog for diverse educators showing how some of their members have challenged stereotypes associated with parenthood.

Using examples from their community, they put the lie to the notions that a woman “leaves before she leaves” and loses all ambitions when she becomes a mother. The post covers a raft of sensitive topics, including open discussion about difficulties in conception and IVF and adoption journeys. Most saliently for school leaders, the case studies show that not all mothers need part-time jobs in order to balance home and work lives, that those who work flexible hours are as committed as their full-time colleagues and that the current model of parental leave may not be an inclusive one.

This is an important blog to stimulate governors to reflect on whether their schools make it easier for women to make choices.

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