15 May 2007

Governors' Partnership Meeting

The first of three schools meetings in three days ended as I expected, because that's how these meetings always end, with me feeling frustrated at the Local Authority's lack of understanding of the situation in our school. At least this time I had the satisfaction of talking after the meeting to two other chairs of governors who agreed with me.

But let's begin at the beginning. The meeting was the Governors' Partnership meeting which is where the Local Authority meets with all the chairs of governors at the start of the term to update them on current issues. These meetings used to be called "briefings" and that is a better description of what they are as we governors sit lecture style while a succession of Local Authority officers present to us. Last night's topics were finance (yet again), School Improvement Partners and Clusters.

These are the main points that I noted down during the meeting:
  • Even in Kingston, some 100 children leave school each year with no GCSEs
  • Schools funding is not working and we are unlikely to fix it as it is not understood at all well
  • The performance gap between groups of pupils is widening
  • Does intervention by schools really make a difference?
  • "Targeting resources" to help one group of pupils means taking resources away from another group.

The inherent contradiction is that we are being asked to both raise standards overall and to close the achievement gaps but the two outcomes require resources to be allocated differently so you always address one at the expense of the other.

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