Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Lord Hill's Speech at NGA Conference

Two weeks ago Lord Hill gave a speech to NGA members at their Annual national conference.

The full speech text can be found be found on the link below on the DfE website

I listed some of the quotes from the speech worth highlighting below.

It is refreshing to see a minister supporting School governance!

Lord Hill Quotes from speech:

"I believe that school governors are the unsung heroes and heroines of our education system"

"I wanted to come here to say a huge thank you through you to all of the 300,000 school governors up and down the land who slog away, for hours on end, in their own time, often at the end of a long and busy day, to help their local schools improve, to give something back to their local communities, and to do their bit in the common endeavour in which we are all engaged – driving up standards so that all children have the chance to aim high, achieve their potential and get on in life. I cannot think of a better embodiment of volunteering and of civil society than the work that governors do, and I want you to have the recognition that I believe you deserve"

"we want to devolve more power and responsibility down to the lowest possible level – away from Whitehall, towards schools, hospitals and local communities"

"We want to spread autonomy and trust professionals to get on with the job"

"We want to bear down on needless bureaucracy, targets and paperwork"

"In short, we want to get out of people’s hair – but provide support where they want support and encourage professionals to share good practice and learn from each other"

"Far too many governors tell me that they spend hours in meetings discussing what are, frankly, relatively trivial issues, when they could be concentrating on strategic leadership and making a difference. And the recent NGA report on bureaucracy raised a series of important issues that we need to address"

"First, it is absolutely clear to me that the most important decision-making group in any school is the governing body"

"Second, governing bodies should set the overall strategic direction of a school, hold the headteacher to account and have a relentless focus on driving up standards – but not get dragged into micro-managing the school or the minutiae of its day-to-day activities"

"Third, we need to ensure that governing bodies have the best possible people, with the right mix of skills and expertise, rather than just because they are there wearing a particular hat"

"Fourth, all schools are different and need different things at different stages of their development – so school governance needs to be more flexible"

"Fifth, we must mount an energetic and sustained attack on the culture of guidance and paperwork – a lot of it issued by my Department – that tells you how to do your job. I know it’s all meant to be helpful – and I am sure some of it is useful – but if you are serious about trusting people, you have to start trusting them"

"And finally, we need – even in these straitened times – to find ways of supporting governors, especially chairs of governors, including by providing access to high-quality training and also making it easier to see a wide range of information and data about the performance of local schools"

"I do not pretend that it is all going to be plain sailing. There will be difficult decisions ahead. But I think that there is also an opportunity to move to a system where schools are more autonomous, where professionals are trusted and given more respect, and where funding is fairer, more rational and more transparent"

"Central to all of this will be the role played by governors, which is why I end how I started – by thanking you for all that you do and by saying that I will do all I can to support you in that role"

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