I often come across governors who spend a lot of time in schools visiting to undertake monitoring visits. This is great, governors should be monitoring but monitoring is pointless if it is not structured and focused. It soon becomes ineffective and a waste of everyones time and energy.
Here are my 5 top tips for making governor monitoring count.
Keep it strategic. The majority of governor monitoring, with the exception of safeguarding, should be linked to the schools improvement plan. By doing this the governing body maintain focus on the areas that the school is working towards and this also helps the governing body to remain strategic and to refrain from straying into operational matters. If other areas are to be monitored then still include them on the plan but do not be tempted to add infinite monitoring activity!
Have a plan. It sounds simple doesn’t it but it is often the simple things that have the biggest impact. Having an agreed, written plan with clear actions and identified outcomes will concentrate everyones efforts and focus. Make sure that your monitoring plan identifies who is undertaking which areas of monitoring and when and what the agreed monitoring activity is. Ensure governors make a note of visit (ideally in an agreed format) and share this with other governors.
Delegate roles. Make sure that your monitoring plan identifies who is undertaking which areas of monitoring and when. This is an excellent way to share out governor responsibilities and balance the workload.
Buddy up. When a new governor joins your governing body, link them with an experienced governor and an existing area of monitoring so that they can shadow an experienced governor. It will make them feel involved and give them a purpose right from the get-go. Fantastic for succession planning too!
Review. Make sure you regularly review the monitoring plan, either at your Standards and Outcomes committee or at your FGB meeting – wherever is appropriate for your governing body. Also ensure the plan is fully reviewed and updated in line with the school improvement plan.
Bonus Tip – Share! Share! Share!
Share the governor monitoring plan with the school staff, show them that the work of the governing body is strategic and in line with the schools aims and objectives and that you are all working in the same direction and for the same outcomes.
Share with the students. Attend a student council meeting or an assembly and share with students the areas that the governing body are working on in their school and why these are important.
Share with parents and carers. Provide updates on governor monitoring in the schools or governor newsletter. Attend events focusing on school improvement areas and share the work of the governing body and how this is contributing to the school’s improvement journey.
I hope these tips are helpful. If you have any others please leave a comment below. Watch out for my upcoming blog where I share ideas for the different ways that governors can get involved in monitoring.