As well as a school governor, I am also a Trustee/Director of a smallish creative arts charity/company in Bradford (Artworks) and the relationship between governing a school and a charity has been exercising my grey matter recently.
Both roles are fundamentally strategic yet both offer the potential for (or should I really say 'risk of'?) dipping deeper into management and detail. The challenge that we talked about in Artworks is how to find out enough detail to be able to make meaningful strategic decisions yet not interfere with the operations of the organisation; isn't this exactly one of the challenges that we school governors face?
In schools this might be by visiting the school, spending time with pupils and staff ina structured way - no visits 'just to see what is going on' but always with an agenda to find out about something specific. In Artworks we are exploring attaching each Trustee/Director to one or more areas of work or projects (link governors!)
In Artworks we have just created a 15 (?) item balanced scorecard that lets us see the key performance indicators on one sheet of A4 - what is the education equivalent of this?
I have been looking at The Carver Model, a way of using policy to both empower and constrain 'the executive' (HT) and I wonder how these principles might apply to school governance.
It seems to me that far too often school governance is seen as amateurish. The recent DCSF proposals for compulsory trainig for Chairs is a good move IMHO, and with more Academies (whatever we might think of the concept), Foundations/Trusts, etc., it seems that we really need to be making governance much more 'professional' with the disciuplines and rigours that would be second nature in a £multi-million business. If I ran a £multi-million business I woudo not be happy with a bunch of enthusiastic but unntrained amateurs running it, why is this OK for schools?