From Vision to Reality – The Monitoring Golden Thread

They say that a ‘stitch in time saves nine, which is certainly true when it comes to the monitoring role of Governors – one of the core roles.

Governing boards that invest a little time and effort up front to ensure that their monitoring framework is fit for purpose and sighted on the right things; will prevent further work or gaps down the line.

Here at Shaping Governance HQ, I work with many schools to improve their monitoring. For me, it’s the whole system from vision to reality to impact, and what the school is doing to bring you closer to the vision and get the best outcomes for children. Using Shaping Governance, I support and challenge Governors to understand how they can work together to create a governance jigsaw for the school.

Governors are required to take strategic responsibility for the development and improvement of the school and in ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. Within this core role, Governors should work with senior leaders to set the vision, support leaders to plan what actions are needed to get there, and understand how this will be delivered, monitored, and evaluated. This vision to reality to impact approach – or the Golden Thread, as it is also known, is important to get right.

There are many opportunities for Governors to monitor the school and its development plan, whether informal or formal. Opportunities include monitoring through meetings, defined link roles, visits to the school, attendance at events and celebrations. Link Roles are a popular way for Governors to develop specialist knowledge, targeting a specific area of the school development plan or subject area. But not everything needs intense monitoring, some may be light touch, and your board needs to use a variety of opportunities to see the school in action and speak to pupils.

Here are my key tips for an effective monitoring system in my usual style.

From vision to reality to impact – the G.O.L.D.E.N Thread

  • Get to know the school; ensure you have a shared clear vision for now and the future;
  • Organise and agree on a monitoring framework. Be like an Onion and adopt layers; for governors, committees, or full board
  • Link governors – a key layer to provide enhanced scrutiny of school priorities.
  • Define roles clearly and decide who monitors which aspect of the school/development plan
  • Evaluation! It’s not just about whether things get done; it’s about the difference that actions make – the  ‘so what? approach
  • Notice, note and share! Use every opportunity when in school to monitor, it could be a link visit or to see an event – make sure you notice, note and share with your team

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