A review of your go-to guide for school governance, ‘My School #Governance Handbook’ by Al Kingsley.

Reviewed by Mark Anderson

School governance is a truly rewarding activity for anyone to engage with. Sure, it requires commitment, but the opportunity to work with a school to help it deliver a high-quality education for the children within its community is a fantastic thing to be involved in.

Being a school governor or trustee is not an easy undertaking though. The specific responsibilities of a school governor can be vast and cover a range of areas, generally including:

  • setting the school’s vision, values, and strategic aims
  • monitoring and evaluating the school’s performance
  • making decisions on the school’s budget and staffing
  • ensuring that the school complies with legal and statutory requirements
  • representing the views of the local community
  • working with other members of the governing body to make decisions that are in the best interests of the school and its students.

When I was a middle leader, as part of my personal professional development, I decided to stand as a staff governor. It was a steep learning curve, even for me with 15 years of teaching and leadership experience under my belt. I can only imagine the difficulties parents and other parties face when they step up to volunteer in this way.

What would have made that an easier transition would have been to have a great reckoner to hand to help me navigate my role and responsibilities. Enter Kingsley’s superb, ‘My School #Governance Handbook.’

Covering all aspects of school governance, from what should be on the school website, to advice on safeguarding, Ofsted, your risk register, delegation, school types and more, Kingsley’s book is an essential and highly valuable book for those starting their governance journey to those who’ve been supporting schools for some time.

The title of the book would suggest that this is a book just for school governors and trustees; however, it is a superbly useful book for those on the school leadership team too. With sections covering recruiting new governors, your governing body (things to consider), academy financial planning, digital strategy, Ofsted, wellbeing, and more, the book is jam-packed with useful advice.

Part of the value-add in this book, like in Kingsley’s previous book ‘My Secret #EdTech Diary’, is the copious amounts of fantastic questions that are scattered throughout the book. There are questions to ask as a new governor, questions to ask around staff wellbeing, questions to ask about the digital strategy, and so much more. These are useful because, in having these questions, it puts you in a strong position to both know what you should be asking but probably more importantly, what you should have answers to.

The final two aspects which bring additional value is the list of “Handy Resources” at the end of the book, and even more than that, the list of “Edu Acronyms.” I can see this being an absolute lifesaver for anyone new to the education space. There are few professions where there are so many! From SMSC to PISA, PIXL and PLN – it’s a difficult area to navigate when reading educational documentation. Not to fear though, as ‘My School #Governance Handbook’ really does have you covered.

Like Ronseal, the book does ‘what it says on the tin’ and therefore I strongly recommend it to anyone involved in or considering involvement in School Governance.

Author

  • Mark Anderson

    Mark is a global speaker, EdTech expert, trainer, blogger, author and key note speaker, known as the ICT Evangelist. He has over 20 years of experience in the classroom. Mark is the head of education at NetSupport, an Independent Thinking associate, an MIE Expert and fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. His latest book can be found at edtechplaybook.com.
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