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Book review: How to survive as a governor in a church school [1]

How to survive as a governor in a church school with Modern Governor app

Book review: How to survive as a governor in a church school [1]

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Fee StaggAn extract from the book How to survive as a governor in a church school – written by Alexandra Green and published by Redemptorist Publicationswill shortly be is available in the Modern Governor mobile app for Android and iOS.  To highlight this – and to examine some of the issues which are unique to governors in church schools – two governors have reviewed the book.

Fee Stagg – who tweets at @dogpaws23 and whose blog is among those featured in the app – has written this review and Katie Paxton-Doggett‘s review will appear early next week when the extract is published in the app is also available.

A review of How to survive as a governor in a church school

Governing in a Church of England or Wales school does not require any different or unique skills other than an openness and willingness to reflect upon the importance of ensuring that our Christian ethos is embedded into the daily life of the school, that the Diocese remains informed and involved, and that the school’s vision and values are reflected in the everyday life of the school.

This readable and well laid-out book by Alexandra Green is an excellent starting point to help all governors of church schools develop and increase their knowledge and skills. Threaded throughout the book are a number of questions aimed at self-reflection and evaluation of impact which are useful to all Boards not just those in Church schools

As a Chair of a CoE Voluntary Controlled school, but not a Foundation Governor, I was interested to learn more about the vision and mission of Foundation Governors, the role they play and how to help them and how to evaluate the impact of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural education and curriculum.  This book, which is laid out into 7 stand alone sections, looks at the roles of individual governors, induction, some of the challenges, self-evaluation and supports your preparation for SIAMS inspections. It is in this last respect that I found the book the most useful.

The chapter on inspections offers a downloadable template which prompts the reader to consider a range of key questions around Christian distinctiveness, evidence, level of provision and impact. While there is always the danger of such matters straying into the operational, completing these templates as a whole school would be highly beneficial. The book offers many tips on preparing for inspection including questions such as ‘to what extent do governors witness a Christ-centred learning environment’ and ‘does everyone in the school community feel valued?’ The esoteric nature of these questions give us pause for reflection and challenge us to think about our first core function of governance.

This book is a good introduction to Church school governance; and whilst I may have issue with some small matters of accuracy I would recommend it to anyone who is a governor in a church school.  One key omission perhaps is that the book does not explicitly refer to the academy agenda but on reflection maybe by asking ourselves the questions posed throughout the book we will be in a better position to ensure that any academy decisions our Boards make are stronger and for the benefit of the whole school community. 

Read Chapter 3 of the book at no cost

The Modern Governor mobile app on a Samsung Galaxy S5, Google Nexus and iPhone 6

The full text of chapter 3 of How to survive as a governor in a church school will be available in the free Modern Governor mobile app from Monday, including a printable version of the book’s skills audit. To download the app and read the extracts from this and other books on governance, along with the reader of governance blogs and the offline, searchable and cross-reference glossary of educational terms, simply visit moderngovernor.com/app.

To download updated content – including the extract from this and other books – simply update the app’s content once you’ve installed it.


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