Thursday, 25 February 2010

Made a difference today...:-)

A whole day of governance - reflections?

I spent most of the morning in a workshop about reshaping 'behaviour provision' - how do we best support the wide range of pupils with a broad spread of inappropriate behaviours? General concensus that it needs to be much more child-focussed with 'total care' including family support; what will really make the difference is early whole-family intereventions that call on a range of professionals from several agencies. The challenges are several - to get the various agencies truly working in partnership, to get some acute support while the chronic services available via CAF get into gear, to to decide how to commission and deliver local support so that the pupils can stay in their local community while being helped, how much (if any) provsion to make centrally for the most difficult cases...
We saw some good practice from our own authority and from others, not least Sheffield. What we need to do is get quicker at making change for the better - as I said this morning, we are working in a messy arena that changes all the time so we are unlikely ever to find the 'one perfect solution' so we need to make change and learn as we go.

Then on to a meeting of the Traded Services Forum, where I represent governors amongst a meeting of officers looking at how to get better at contracting for and delivering services to schools. The bit that interested me the most was about safeguarding for contracted staff. The contracts specify that relevant staff will be ISA registered and CRB checked, but it seemed that there was no audit of the quality of the assessments of the Disclosures; it seemed that, in theory at least and who knows about practice, a particular disclosure mioght be treated inn different ways by different contractors - so us schools have no idea whether or not a contractor has 'passed' someone inappropriate. I hope that we persuaded the powers that be of two things 1) the need to give contractors guidance on their 'filtering criteria' 2) the need to explicitly audit compliance.

All in all, a good day, working with people whose hearts are clearly in the right place.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Governance matters

I have just been reading a really interesting publication about governance in the Arts.

What struck me was the effort and serious thought that had been put into developing models of governance, understanding the relationship between governors and CEOs (Head Teachers), trustee/director training, the role of the Trustees/Directors and a host of other topics that rarely, if ever, get aired in my governing bodies.

How long do you spend discussing these strategic issues about the role and processes of governance?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

To act or to act?

Do you sometimes find yourself on the edge of creating a real humdinger of a fuss about how you feel you are being treated, whilst at the same time knowing that to do so would risk alienating the very people who could help you out?

I am there now - 49% wanting to get the media and everyone else involved, yet 51% still winning the internal battle. What really bothers me is the risk that the legitimate feelings (for feelings are always legitimate, even if the actual objectives events are different to what you think) of being ignored, the dismal history of how this particular incident has been handled and the grossly inadequate processes for finding a solution get overlooked when, and I sincerely hope it is when not if, a solution to our current challenge is found.

It is far too easy to say "it's all OK now, there is no point in raking over old ashes"; well that's just putting your head in the sand - the value of post-mortems should not be to find and blame/punish the guilty, but to disccover how to do things better in the future. I would never want another school to go through what we are and hope that I can find a way to stimulate an appropriate review when this is all over.