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Relationships Matter

Building a team approach to the leadership of the Board  is one of the key principles of effective governance and  the role played by the clerk in this team is increasingly  falling under the spotlight; particularly on one day Ofsted  inspections where minutes can have a impact on the  perception of the effectiveness of the Board.


However, effective clerking of the Board will depend heavily on a  sound working relationship and good communications between  the clerk, the chair of the governing Board or committee and  the Headteacher. There is an increasing level of conversation  nationally about need for, and importance of, professional and  more importantly independent, clerking. The recently published  Clerking Competency Framework is an invaluable place from  which to start this conversation.


The Competency Framework clearly sets out the skills  and effective behaviours a professional clerk should  demonstrate, and these are based, quite rightly, around  systems and processes. The Framework states that:  professional clerking builds and maintains professional  working relationships with the Board which is the  foundation to providing impartial advice and support.


The 12 effective behaviours listed in the Framework  focus on communication skills, knowledge of governance  and commitment. But what about the other importance  factors, perhaps more the personal attributes, which make  the relationship between the Chair, the Headteacher and  the clerk effective or not effective?


How the clerk supports the relationship between the Head,  the Chair and the Board is also important. Regular dialogue  is vital and having clear channels of communication and an  agreement about ‘who does what and when’ is critical to  smooth administration meetings.


It is the responsibility of the Governing Board to decide who  should act as clerk to the Board meeting so it is important that  they appoint someone with appropriate skills and knowledge.  It is also good practice to support their development  through appropriate training. Whilst it is acceptable, and  indeed common, to appoint a member of the school staff  to clerk the need to be aware of where the boundaries lie  can become blurred. A detail role description can help avoid  misunderstanding and avoid potential conflicts of interest; both  of which can unsettle a Board.


Aside from helping you to keep your Board compliant  what else does your clerk offer the whole Board in  terms of leadership support?


Are they: 

The way that the relationship between the Chair, the  Headteacher and the Clerk works is important and  has an impact on the way the Board operates. This  relationship needs to be respectful of each other’s roles  and understands where the boundaries lie particularly  in meetings, it needs to be transparent and it needs to  remain professional at all times.



For more information please email:  governorspace@entrust-ed.co.uk

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