Dominic Hudson, DCSF Briefly reported on Ministerial Review (extended into November) Reminded us of ministers’ passionate pursuit of uniform system-wide excellence to drive out variation and achieve equity.
Angela Drizi, Director of Schools and Learning welcomed delegates to the City of Westminster set out some key challenges and opportunities for schools and local authorities. Finding and growing leaders, seeing the big picture and integrating activities were challenges for governing bodies and local authorities alike.
Clarissa Williams, President of NAHT drew on her 23 years experience of headship in the London area to set out her view of how governing body leadership and headteacher leadership can work together.
Adrian Gray, Ofsted drew on the data on governing body effectiveness collected by inspectors, to describe governing bodies that lead – and by implication the governing bodies that do not lead. His initial involvement in the School Improvement Division showed him governing bodies as ‘a full and mobilising force….taking decisive action’ in schools requiring special measures. It is more difficult to isolate the impact of a governing body in schools which have better leadership.
Workshops Steve Barker in Challenging governors to lead suggested governors might base their leadership on Rudolph Giuliani’s prescription: ‘relentless preparation; surround yourselves with great people; reflect then decide; everyone’s accountable –all the time’.
Workshops Michele Robbins in ‘Good to outstanding’ focussed on the importance of governors’ involvement and understanding of their school’s SEF as the foundation of clear school development plans. She advocated distributed leadership in the governing body with every governor taking a leadership role for some strategic aspect of the SEF and Development Plan.
Workshops Sue Alton’s workshop on Extended Services suggested allowing governors and headteachers to express their worries about the challenge leading into group problem solving to demonstrate that these issues are not insurmountable barriers.
Workshops Bill Bolloten’s workshop on Community Cohesion offered practical tools in the form of key questions and auditing checklists that can empower governing bodies to challenge and support their schools and take strategic decisions to meet the needs of their pupils and communities.
Max Coates, London Centre for Leadership in Learning completed the conference by posing challenging questions about the fitness of our current system for the world as it is now and whatever it will become. He questioned the relevance of our curriculum and the structures of headship and governance leadership.
National Standards: A guide for COGS National Standards: Promotes best possible service to governing bodies and LAs Professional Standards: Offer colleagues continuous professional development to support their ongoing career
Evaluations “Liked the opportunity to think strategically about my role and the work of my team in supporting good governance away from the operational pressures of the day job” “Not good idea for people to have wine prior to DCSF speaker!” “Like the relaxed flow of events and having time to network” “Would have liked more opportunity to discuss in groups” “Brilliantly organised” “Would have preferred cabaret style in main room” “Liked networking with other COGS – An annual uplift!”
Thank you to the conference planning team, to Havering Governor Services for their administrative support, and to all LCOGS helpers for your fantastic work!