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Governor Live workshop: performing a SWOT analysis on your school

Governor Live workshop: performing a SWOT analysis on your school

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Governor Live logoOur spring and summer term series of Governor Live online events concludes with this week’s session, held on Thursday the 15th of June at 8pm. Like all Governor Live online events this session is free to register and attend. This week our guest presenter Christine Bayliss will lead a practical session for governors of maintained schools and standalone academies, carrying out a SWOT analysis helping us to evaluate our schools to support the decision-making process around academisation. As ever, Governor Live doesn’t presume that there is a correct answer to the question “should our school become an academy?”, but instead aims to equip governors and school leaders to make better decisions in this vital area. Interested? You can register immediately, or read on for further explanation.

Being objective about academisation

Academisation remains a contentious issue for many school leaders in England. Despite appearing to abandon its push for mandatory academisation held in the mainly-defunct White Paper, historical issues of schools being press-ganged into a change of status, coupled with an increase in reports of mismanagement in loosely monitored MATs, still gnaw at the DfE under the Conservative government, which still tends to see academisation as a cure to all educational ills.

As governors it can be hard to be objective when considering joining an existing multi-academy trust (MAT) or even starting a new one in this environment. We’ may have read horror stories of schools being “destroyed” by the process, of increased turnover in headteachers – and even when we don’t believe that these accounts are relevant to our situation, we know that becoming part of a MAT leads to a change in governance structures and, fundamentally, a change to our role. Those of us in effective or improving schools know that the words of the National Schools Commissioner are true:

A workshop to help our thinking

Christine Bayliss

With this in mind, at 8pm this Thursday Christine Bayliss of C:BECS will be leading a practical session on how, as governors, we can take an objective view of our school. If you’re an individual governor with strong views either way about academisation, or if you haven’t considered the question as maybe you should have, then this session is being held to help you make a more informed decision.

Informed decisions are the right decisions

There is absolutely no presumption about what’s right for your school – only your board and wider school community can know that – but this is about equipping you and your board to make informed decisions in your local context. We’ll look at how to carry out a traditional SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on your own school in those areas relevant to academisation.

Information & data from a real school

Hypotheses are all very well (“if a school was x then might be the best option…”) but it’s quite different to examine real-life data and information from a school and answer the “Well, what’s the best option here?” question. In this session’s main activity we’ll be looking at an anonymised school’s data and relevant information, so we can model how other schools might carry out a similar process. Participants will be able to view summaries of a school’s academic performance, financial and resources situation, ethos and pattern of local provision, and contribute to the discussion about how this school should proceed.

As will all Governor Live events, this week’s session is intended to be interactive – please bring your questions, take part in the discussion regarding the anonymised school’s situation and invite your governance and SLT colleagues. This session might provide a helpful model for discussions in your own governing board, so the chair, vice-chair and SLT members from your school can all attend, and then reflect on the process in subsequent weeks.

Prepare for this session

A good place to start in preparation for this is to read Christine’s Schoolsweek article Should maintained schools convert to academies? which gives a high level overview of what we’ll be doing.

Further to this, you may also wish to revisit the recordings of the Considerations for Conversion series, which took place in the Autumn term of last year.

Register for this session

Registration is free and will enable you to access any future Governor Live online events held on this platform. This session will be recorded – and even if you can’t attend on the night, registeration will give you access to the recording as soon as they are released.

Image credit: Vasundhara Srinivas on Unsplash.

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