Heads and Governors

Part of the series Just for Governors

  Screen capture from Heads and Governors


The relationship between the headteacher and the governors at two primary schools in east London are contrasted in this programme.

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At Holy Trinity CE School in Richmond, chair of governors Harry James has a very hands-on approach. He's able to devote a significant amount of time to his role, allowing him to understand and support the school as it continues to improve.

At Godwin Junior School in Forest Gate the governors are less actively involved. They expect the acting headteacher to manage the school, and to only alert the governing body to problems as and when they arise.

But does a hands-off approach only work for Godwin because it is already a successful school? Would Holy Trinity's governors become less actively involved if the school improved?


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Extra materials (3)

Supporting information provided by the educational consultant for this programme

A list of the objectives set for the school for 2007-8 by the governors of Holy trinity C of E School, Richmond, Surrey

A list of publications recommended by the education consultant for this programme

Related links (7)

Comments (3)

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    • Ben Jorell Ben Jorell


      Heads and Governors
      29 June 2008 - 07:36

      Very interesting and informative programme. I broadly echo Phil's comments above and my particular situation in a large suburban primary is much more in line with the first example in the CE school. Both approaches seem to work well and Ofsted certainly agree that the results in the larger school justify their 'light touch' methodology. I was a little concerned at how often the word 'trust' was used in this relationship however, the suggestion being that if the CoG's involvement, and presence on site were to increase, this would give the impression that the climate of mutual trust would be diminished. I am heavily involved at our school, but would never describe my time there as 'poking my nose into every cupboard'. We are a community school and are proud of that title. I am an active part of the community and as such need to spend a lot of time with all stakeholders to carry out my duties effectively.

    • Contrasting Approaches To School and Governors Relationships
      23 February 2008 - 13:14

      I enjoyed this program and learnt alot, and could see merits in both styles of approach.

      What I took away from the program, developing a clear and coherent relationship between the School and Governing body, is very important for all schools, but is heavily dependant on the relationship developed between the Head Teacher and the Chair of Governors, like all developing relationships, it takes mutual trust and understanding to move forward, to common ground.

      As each of the examples indicated, the closeness of the interaction, will need to adjust to address the issues of the day and the strategic plan for the school.

      Succession planning and strategic planning are examples where a particularly close relationship is likely to be needed.

      The relationship I have with our Head Teacher is very similar to the more hands on approach, and I would suggest that this would be true for significant proportion of small primary schools such as ours.

      But I could imagine if I were a Governor or Chair of Governors in a very large school, the relationship would closely reflect the more working from a distance approach also demonstrated in the programme.

      So which is the best approach, I feel the close approach is better, because at the end of the day, the governing body has the responsibility, to ensure our children receive the best fulfilling education possible, in a caring safe and rewarding environment, whilst achieving best value for money, with limited funding.

      To achieve this, you need to motivate your Head teacher, their leadership team, all members of staff, including your volunteers, the best way possible, to achieve your schools long and short term objectives.

      Phil Morris
      Rural Primary School