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The New Chair: the calm before

Humility by Toni Verdú Carbó - licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The New Chair: the calm before

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This is the third in a series of blog posts by a newly-elected chair of governors in a primary school documenting the experiences s/he has starting out in the role. For obvious reasons it’s anonymous – if you have helpful questions or answers to the questions the author poses below, then please leave them as a comment on this post – subject to the new chair’s availability s/he might answer as s/he is able.

Is this getting a bit easier?

I think so.

There’s certainly none of the panic that I felt in the first few weeks, which is nice, and I’m really starting to enjoy the job. Setting my own agendas for meetings (rather than having that first meeting thrust upon me!) has been really key to this as has close contact with the headteacher and staff. All of the ‘small stuff’ like websites and reports that I was preoccupied by at the time of my first post seem to be under control – and I’ve had my first parental complaints and swiftly realised they aren’t always bad news!

Big stuff that’s going on:

We’ve had a couple of governors resign

– one of whom will be missed greatly for the work she puts in, the other less so as he was at the other end of the spectrum commitment wise. We’ve filled one of these roles already, the other will be tricky. However one of these was the old chair of governors and as soon as he left the rest of the governors stepped up, and we’re a much more coherent, energetic team;

We’ve been considering the academy question

– see my previous post on this – but we’ve made the decision – what I hope is a wise one – to concentrate on being the best school we can be and consider the academy question after our next Ofsted visit. Being so close to an Ofsted, we can’t distract ourselves by politics;


– they’re not here yet, but they could be any day. Our data isn’t great, and with a new chair and new head with new policies, curricula, assessment and philosophies, it feels as though we’re juggling an awful lot of things and hoping that some of them embed before the big O lands. However there are no more new things happening, the staff love the new curriculum and that is showing in the pupils’ work. We have a lot of positives to talk about as a school which is great!

The headteacher is settling in really well

– pupils, parents and staff really like her (or him). As always with new leadership there is change, but this was needed and welcome, we just need the chance to embed it before Ofsted arrive!

Questions for other chairs

  1. Bearing in mind Ofsted’s tweet just below (which quotes Sir Michael Wilshaw speaking at the 2016 ASCL Conference today) – have any of you had Ofsted come in whilst you were in your first year as chair? Have you any tips you can share?

  2. Do you think that we’ve done the right thing by putting the academy question aside until after the next Ofsted?
  3. (This seems a very simple one…)
    How often do you meet with your headteacher? How do you record these meetings? Are they formal or relaxed?

Image credit: Humility by Toni Verdú Carbó – licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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