Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dedicated Headship Time: A Questions Framework for School Governors

Dedicated Headship Time: A Questions Framework for Governors and Headteachers

The provision of Dedicated Headship Time can help school leaders focus on:

• school improvement
• raising standards
• school development
• improved monitoring and evaluation
• improved well-being of staff and pupils.

It is particularly important for governors of schools where head teachers are identified as having a significantly heavy teaching commitment or higher-than-average management responsibility to ensure that they play an active role in monitoring use of Dedicated Headship Time within the school sessions.

This document includes a set of key questions which are further explained by a number of supplementary questions. They are designed as prompts to aid discussion.

A Are we clear about the aims and purpose of Dedicated Headship Time?

• Why is Dedicated Headship Time important?

• Does the Senior Leadership Team understand the aims and purposes of Dedicated Headship Time?

• What are your aims for providing Dedicated Headship Time? How are these related to your school, its context and the experience of your head teacher?

• Have you defined the purpose of Dedicated Headship Time in your school? What’s in it for the head teacher? What’s in it for the school?

• Do you have a policy for Dedicated Headship Time that is known and understood by all key stakeholders? If not, are there specific references to Dedicated Headship Time in other policies? If so, which?

B To what extent do your governors understand your entitlement to Dedicated Headship Time and your need for flexibility?

• Do you as Governors understand your statutory responsibilities to have regard to the work/life balance of your head teacher, of which Dedicated Headship Time is an important ingredient?

• As a Governing Body are you clear about your responsibilities for ensuring that your head teacher has Dedicated Headship Time within the school sessions?

• Is Dedicated Headship Time on the agenda when leadership and management are discussed?

• How do you ensure that a meaningful amount of time is undertaken? How do you ensure this time is matched by sufficient resources?

• How do you engage in discussion with your head teacher about Dedicated Headship Time? Does it form part of your performance management discussion?

C What is your role as head teacher in ensuring Dedicated Headship Time?

• How do you ensure you have work/life balance? Do you provide an effective role model for other staff in this respect?

• How do you currently create blocks of time which enable a substantial piece of work to be completed without distractions?

• How do you provide time for strategic thinking, planning and review, including the formulation of vision, aims, structures, systems, policies and action plans?

• How do you create time for professional reflection and dialogue, reading and research?

• How do you give yourself space to breathe?

D What happens now in terms of Dedicated Headship Time?

• Where do you currently undertake Dedicated Headship Time? In/out of school?

• How do you organise the time during the working week? Do you identify blocks of time such as half or whole days?

• Who do you work with during your Dedicated Headship Time? Do you work individually, with other head teachers, with staff from your school, with other agency staff, with Governors, with a coach or a mentor?

• What happens in other schools?

E How are others involved in supporting Dedicated Headship Time?

• Is there a shared understanding about Dedicated Headship Time within the Local Authority? How does the Local Authority promote and support Dedicated Headship Time?

• How is best practice in implementing and using Dedicated Headship Time shared at cluster/local partnership level?

• How do you involve the School Improvement Partner in making links between the performance management process and Dedicated Headship Time and its impact? Is it part of your performance management discussion?

• What are staff’s perceptions of Dedicated Headship Time?

It is often said that Governors fulfil their key roles by Asking the Right Questions.

The Questions framework above is provided by Sheffield City Council as a guide to their School Governors

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