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Report on the 13th May Governing and Governance RIG Meeting

16.06.16

The latest meeting of the Governing and Governance Research Interest Group (RIG), took place at the Wesley Hotel, Euston Street, London and looked at governing from two perspectives.

Firstly, using the research study by Nicky Odgers at the University of Cambridge, we considered the question ‘How should and how do governing bodies of stand-alone English schools influence institutional strategy?'. Nicky was drawing on the work of McNulty and Pettigrew (1999) and also Ranson et al (2005) and she reported emerging findings which showed some distance between ‘should’ in theory and ‘do’ in practice. The group wanted more opportunity to discuss these emerging findings which would be included in the next meeting of the RIG in the Autumn.

Secondly, with the assistance of two external speakers, the group looked at the role of commissioners in relation to schools and colleges and their governing bodies. Martin Post, Regional Schools Commissioner for N.W. London and South Central gave an illuminating account of his role and priorities and Marilyn Hawkins provided a personal view of her experience working within the F.E. Commissioner’s Office. Both contributors identified the strengths and limitations of school and college governing bodies.  

There was a plenary discussion which attempted to draw out key themes for possible further exploration. The big question was ‘why do individuals want to be governors?’ when there are many difficulties with the role – both from within educational institutions e.g. re the determination of strategy, and from the framework connecting to educational institutions e.g. commissioners, OfSTED, funding bodies etc.

Jacqueline Baxter (Open University) provided insight into her new book ‘School Governance: Policy, Politics and Practices’.

It was a packed agenda with little space for relaxed discussion on the presentation topics. More time for exploring the themes will be provided at the next meeting. 

Ron Hill
RIG Convener
15 June 2016

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