The one thing a Chair of Governors really has to get right

It’s appoint a Headteacher.

So when your school is an “outstanding” school, even though it’s below floor targets (below 40% 5A*C inc E/M), really poor rates of progress, and your head retires, you come into your own.

You see, your school blagged that OFSTED inspection in 2011. In any case, the results have gone the wrong way since then. Completely the wrong way. The next inspection is going to be a 4. That’s going to be tragic for the school, though it may paradoxically also be the best thing for it.

You need a field. You need them to be good, and you need to be discerning. You need to encourage and research good applicants, including googling them. You need to get this right for the kids at your school.

The current Head is on a school trip to the Far East. Correct to arrange visits when he’s back, because applicants will want to talk to him. It is astonishing he’s gone there, but anyway, perhaps he deserves a jolly in his last year. But they also want to talk to you. When someone can’t visit on your designated day, you need to talk to them on the phone. This may be the person who is going to turn your school around.

So when someone thinking of applying for the Headteacher post in your school has gone to the trouble of ringing your recruitment consultant, talking at length with them, and obtaining your number. They’ve then read your (entirely blue) RAISE online report, read all the documentation, and they have a number of questions for the governors – those people who will be his or her boss if they are appointed, they probably deserve a conversation. If you don’t know the answers, that’s fine. They need to know you don’t know. Because you might still think your school is outstanding, but in fact, for the sake of the children, it needs turning around.

What they don’t need is “can you call the current headteacher when he’s back from the school trip in far East next Monday”.

You see, your new Headteacher really will need to know if you know that a lot of the things that happened under the current Head will need to be reversed. He or she needs to know what you know. And he or she needs to know if you’ll be there to pick up the school from the inadequate judgement it’s going to get.

You just lost an applicant, made your field smaller, and made the one thing you have to get right more difficult.

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