Unsuitable Girl


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  1. On being a governor


    Another year is drawing towards its close and before the final Full Governing Board meeting, I want to set down some of my experience as a governor at Abbots Langley School. 


    This school is lucky to have a dedicated group of governors who are very enthusiastic about what the children are doing in school.  They are all clear that the raison d’être of being a governor is primarily for the children, overseeing how the plans laid out by the head and the senior leadership team unfold for best effect and how the  outcomes are monitored and fed back into new learning opportunities, and that the children are safe.


    The best part I think is that I get to visit classes, seeing the children’s work, seeing their enjoyment, their interactions with the teachers and their peers. Having an impromptu conversation with a five year old, about infinity, in reception class one day was illuminating and slightly mind bending.  (See my blog from November http://www.unsuitablegirl.com/blog?row=7) I wonder if Robbie or his friend Julie will end up doing astrophysics. (Names are changed)


    Then there are the in-depth conversations with lead teachers, in my case with the Maths leader.  I get to ask questions, hear about new ways of motivating children, using the open ‘challenge’ technique, allowing the child to choose the level of difficulty of the work on offer after the group session.  This allows the less confident learners to be in their comfort zone, but allows them to take a tentative, at first, foray into higher levels of work. Even more helpful in this method is that the teacher mixes the class seating arrangements up for work sessions, so removing the whole ‘top/bottom’ group mentality and thereby raising the game of all the children. The high flyers have freedom to fly as high as they can by choosing ever more challenging levels of work.


    As a class link governor, I can see the same class each term throughout the school till they go to their secondary schools. So as the years pass as an observer,  it’s great  to see the children develop confidence, a sense of self, a pride in what they can do, and grow into themselves as individuals. And I can see how they are doing through the Twitter feed.


    Then the other aspect of governorship, which is a bit scary, is the Ofsted bit! Fortunately because we are a strong group, everything was in place and ready by the time they came calling this year. The staff who were confident in what they are doing, (‘bring it on!’) and the governors who met the inspectors, rose to the challenge and the outcomes were wonderful, and the head and staff now feel that ‘Outstanding’ is well within their grasp. 


    The blog I wrote on the ‘Blogging and blossoming school’ (http://www.unsuitablegirl.com/blog?row=17) sets out the step change in the journey of the school.  The adventure continues, with Twitter feeds from the summer trips of Year 6 and 5, (cue abseiling and canoeing), constant sharing of art work, Maths games, musical productions, an amazing family story writing day, hilarious Book Week happenings, learning about and practising fencing, in the Motte and Bailey castle sense, chicks hatching, hens, finding a frog, gardening, growing and eating vegetables, in short all life is here!


    And it is all feeding back into enhanced work from the children who are happy and safe in our school.


    It is a privilege to be able to come and share in this magic.


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