Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Governor expenses

Ever a thorny subject, this one has raised itself in my consciousness again, stimulated by an article by Janette Owen in the Grauniad.

Some schools find it hard enough anyway to recruit governors from a wide range of stakeholders, some governors who are in place find it hard to attend meetings due to child (or other) care needs (and, of course they do not have to be a Parent Governor to have this challenge!) and some governors (Chairs especially) have significant expenses – if I take mileage alone, I could legitimately have claimed ca £500 last year.

I suggest that there ought to be a much stronger presumption that governors will claim as appropriate. This might be encouraged by expenses being paid by the LEA from a ring-fenced and adequate budget, which while we are at it ought to include all costs for governor training as well.

To continue to accept that such a critical strategic role should be undertaken by those prepared to pay for the privilege is both unreasonable and unsustainable.

Friday, 15 May 2009

FGB on track!

Great meeting last night. Strategic, challenging, supportive, decisions and sharing of useful stuff - we even discussed "How have we improved the chances for our pupils tonight?"

It's fantastic to come home from a governors' meeting feeling that you have helped make a difference and that everyone else there shares that feeling. How great to be able to 'work' with such a committed and knowledgeable group of volunteers - we really CAN change the world!

It looks like our Inclusive Learning Strategy might be back on track - "how can we help?" is the constant question that we now need in mind.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

I have been quiet for far too long on this blog and am still wondering why. However, I came across the following in my colleague Chris Edwards' blog today and found it inspirational:

Bringing out the best in people – in your family, at your school and at your work – is largely determined by the language we use about them and by how much we encourage individual creativity and responsibility... If we want to bring out the best in the people we live with and work with we need to trust them, empower them, engage them, encourage them and celebrate everything they do well. Everywhere we look at the moment ‘the language of blame’ governs relationships, making someone ‘wrong’ and bringing out the worst in people who become frustrated, demoralised, anxious or bolshy. The language of blame is used to dominate and control and we all know that the outcome is to encourage people to simply become mediocre. Watch any ‘soap’, read any newspaper, listen to any journalist interviewing any politician, and you cannot fail to see how widespread and corrosive this approach is. Education Leeds is based on a positive and constructive culture; an approach that values and recognises colleagues as the talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful individuals they are. When I think about the way I act and the way I manage and lead, I ask myself how would I treat a child who was engaging in a task, doing a job or managing a team? How would I help them manage their own self-talk and build their self-esteem to develop their self-efficacy? Surely, then that's the way we should treat our colleagues to build a brilliant school, a brilliant team and a brilliant Education Leeds.

I happen to be aware that some people 'question' Chris' constant enthusiasm and his favourite word "brilliant"; but why? Would you rather be thought and spoken of as being brilliant or rubbish? Do you aspire to brilliance or mediocrity? Language is MUCH more important than we sometimes think. There is some research backing up a bit of my work that suggests that every criticism needs to be counterbalanced by at least 12 congratulations - but why bother with the criticism anyway?

How can you (and I) translate this for our school/workplace/home?