Andrew Firman, Former Head Teacher of 20 years standing, Queen's Park High School, Chester
This is a book which should be in the hands of all school governors and head teachers. It would be invaluable to someone new to the role, but experienced governors and heads would find much here to guide best practice.

Tim's experience as a head teacher and consultant shines through these pages. It is unpatronising and littered with practical advice together with nice touches of humour. The Quick Start Guide and Glossary together with the Appendices are very helpful, but the meat is in the book's six chapters. These cover strategic leadership, self-evaluation and policies, governors' visits to school, holding the head teacher and leadership team to account, Ofsted inspections and last but not least a guide to appointing a new head teacher.

Each chapter starts with a summary of what it sets out to cover and then swiftly gets down to business. In words it is economical without being too truncated and is eminently, and probably best, suited to being read in bite sized chunks. It starts with clarity about the governing body's role in helping to set school vision. There are practical suggestions for activities throughout which would help chairs and head teachers to work with the governing body to build the team and strengthen the skills and confidence of the individual governor.

The narrative is particularly strong on exemplars, providing suggested formats for a range of tasks from recording meetings to planning school visits. The emphasis on getting the right questions asked in the right way is a strength.

However, this book is not just a collection of tips and suggestions: it leads and models good practice in a way that would help any governing body. It is equally applicable to primary and secondary phases and is set in the context of current models of accountability including the Ofsted framework.

I enjoyed reviewing this book. It is written by an outstanding professional in his field and is bang up to date. It includes a brief historical context for those who need that. My only worry with books of this kind is how their shelf life is affected by the rapidly changing educational scene. The strength of this book is that the experience enshrined in it will make it relevant for a good number of years to all those concerned with supporting and challenging our schools to do their best in partnership with our children, young people and their families.
Guest | 10/04/2013 01:00
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