Governors Corner #6

This space is about and for school governors, one of the most underrated sections of leadership inour schools today. It is here for you to share so please leave a comment with your views and any topics you might like to explore!

Succession Planning

As we approach the Easter holidays, Governing Bodies will be thinking about those members of staff and Governing body who will be leaving at the end of the school year. Somehow, you never seem to be ready for these changes so this article from Creative Education is a timely one! The original article can be seen here
About two years ago I joined the governing body of an infant school. The school in question, it was fair to say, was on its knees.
There was no chair, the school had half its complement of governors, an acting headteacher and some serious serious problems.
Yet just a few years earlier it was a poster child for the well managed primary school. A very successful head, a respected chair of governors, good results in a poor area. The school was doing great, but succession planning was its undoing.
It’s a sobering thought – as an active chair you could work your socks off, only for that hard work to be undone when there’s no-one left to carry on your legacy.
So what can you do to make sure you’ve got someone left to carry on the flame?
Part of the answer lies in distributed leadership, which we talked about in an earlier post. If you’ve already started a process where you hand down some of your responsibilities to other governors, if they’re active and involved in the school, you already have a pool of people ready to take over the day that you want to or have to move on.
I remember there was a bit of discussion around that post – what if your governors don’t want to take the responsibility on? How can you make it work? Wouldn’t it be better just doing it yourself? Succession is the ultimate reason (apart from regard to your own personal sanity!) why you can’t do all the work yourself. Because if after you’re not there all there aren’t people who want the responsibility of your role, your school is heading for trouble.
The other thing you can do is be honest with people. Be honest when you want to move on, prepare the ground, sound people out to see if they would be interested in the role. If all else fails your local governor services will always have an idea of local governors who might want to step up so you can lay your plans in plenty of time.
So without getting too morbid, have a think about what happens after you’re gone. If you get it right your school will be well set up for the future, and all your hard work will be preserved.

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