The run up to Christmas is a time for reflection and preparation for the New Year.
Here at GovernorHQ we have a lot to be thankful for, with a growing membership which allows us in turn to produce more – and I hope better – information for governors, trustees and clerks to draw on. We are of course always aiming to improve, just as our schools are. But continuously trying to be better, to go the extra mile, to put the next idea into practice can be exhausting, especially towards the end of term – we mustn’t forget to celebrate those things that went well this year.
And similarly the quality of education in England’s schools is good and improving, with 86% of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. I’m not suggesting we be complacent, but there is so much hard work going on in our schools and so many young people achieving. Be proud of your contribution.
My list of people to thank for their contribution to governing our schools is just as long as last year. However those of you who govern came right at the end of the 2017 list, and this year governors and trustees should be at the top of the list.
Some of us still have a few presents to buy, but there are small signs that this year we might possibly have reached the high tide mark of materialism, perhaps as people consider there are other things that are more fundamental, more life enhancing – looking after the planet we share; time with those who are important to us. Time is such a valuable commodity. Those who volunteer are giving of their time all year, not just for Christmas! It is such a good thing that you do, donating your time and energy to improve the education and welfare of pupils in your communities. Thank you so very much for that gift.
Most governors and trustees report in our surveys that they also gain – from being part of the school community, from seeing the children thrive. And there is no better time to experience that joy of school than with Christmas performances. So I hope you have ended the term with some uplifting celebrations. Being part of cultural events should be something all young people experience at school.
Leadership and governance is important, but that is absolutely not the same as self-importance. I worry as I travel around, especially when talking about ethical governance, that I am in danger of verging on the self-righteous. A serious business, yes of course, but often the best way to achieve that team spirit, that trust which is essential to governing well is through humility and with a dash of humour. Is there anything more sustaining than laughter?
So in that spirit, I leave you for the holidays with something a little bit silly. A member of our team has been coming up with some Christmas cracker governance jokes:
• Why did the governors fall asleep?
They were at a meeting of the bored.
• Did you hear about the clerk who wrote the fastest ever book?
They did it in minutes.
• Why did the trustees stand?
There was only one chair.
• How many governors does it take to change a lightbulb?
None, that’s operational.
Have a good break and much frivolity. NGA is at work until 3pm on Christmas Eve and will reopen on Wednesday 2nd January.