How many times do we stop and think about how we are, as a board or individual governor or trustee, effectively discharge the first core function of governance? We are all under additional pressures at the moment with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic changing the way we work and govern and perhaps this is the right time to reassess our values and what fundamentally matters. In this short think piece I pose some questions for you to consider – either individually or a whole board. You will have many other questions and these are merely some ‘serving suggestions’.
Ethics and Values: 5 key questions
Can you list your School’s or trust values without checking? What do the words mean to you? Does everyone around the board table share the same values? Does it matter if they don’t?
Thinking about your board
1. What values do you attribute to your board’s effectiveness?
2. Who is responsible for ensuring you are effectively living your values?
3. Where is the evidence recorded?
Quick Activity 1 – Features of Effective Governance
Look at the 6 key features or effective governance in turn and think about the behaviours you and the governors need to demonstrate to show effectiveness.
Strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy.
Quick Activity 2 – Ethical Leadership
Look at the 7 definitions below and think about where you would expect to see these in action.
A. Trust: Leaders are trustworthy and reliable We hold trust on behalf of children and should be beyond reproach. We are honest about our motivations.
B. Wisdom: Leaders use experience, knowledge and insight. We demonstrate moderation and self-awareness. We act calmly and rationally. We serve our schools and colleges with propriety and good sense.
C. Kindness: Leaders demonstrate respect, generosity of spirit, understanding and good temper. We give difficult messages humanely where conflict is unavoidable.
D. Justice: Leaders are fair and work for the good of all children We seek to enable all young people to lead useful, happy and fulfilling lives.
E. Service: Leaders are conscientious and dutiful We demonstrate humility and self-control, supporting the structures, conventions and rules which safeguard quality. Our actions protect high-quality education.
F. Courage: Leaders work courageously in the best interests of children and young people. We protect their safety and their right to a broad, effective and creative education. We hold one another to account courageously.
G. Optimism: Leaders are positive and encouraging. Despite difficulties and pressures, we are developing excellent education to change the world for the better.
Framework-for-Ethical-Leadership-in-Education.pdf (ascl.org.uk) section on ethics and professional conduct
Fee Stagg is a National Leader of Governance.
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