The challenge of fitting a Schools-Led System around a SAfE hub awaits our return

by Geoffrey Hackett

The Executive of SGA wish all in Surrey Governance a happy holiday.

It has been a busy year with the cessation of the Babcock 4S contract, the movement to a Schools-Led System, the introduction to the STSN, the arrival of Cognus, the introduction of a new partnership with SAfE, the demise of the MASH and the advent of SPA. have been some of the more notable and ongoing changes in a year of change. Many of these changes will need to be bedded in over the next academic year so recharging the batteries over this summer holiday is going to be important as we get ready to implement the changes into our schools.

The key has to be that we take the opportunity of the change programmes and implement them in a way that ensures we get the improvements in the education of our young people we desire. The tools themselves will not do the job it is how they are used for our next generations education that will make the difference. Scrutinizing, modifying, shaping and verification of the application of the new systems will be essential duties of governance.

Evaluating the cost and the time benefit of each element and ensuring value for money, improvement in working and teaching conditions, growth in overall performance and a raising of standards are all within the oversight of governance. We need to work closely at every level not only with our schools, academies and trusts but with the agencies and the supply chain to see that the community as a whole and the children in particular are gaining from every element of the changes implemented. This is not a time for arrogance nor grand standing, nothing should be above or below anyone's ‘pay grade’ it’s a time for teamwork, - collaboration - cooperation - communication. Team members should not be afraid to fail but being instantly supported by colleagues pick up the challenges of the mistake so converting as does every athlete and entrepreneur the failures into the substantial success we all desire.

We have gone with a Schools - Led System; if it is made to work the potential for major leaps forward in education at all levels could be huge for Surrey’s children. To be successful it needs everyone’s full attention, all working equally hard, being equally listened to and listening to all included at every stage. The most common derailment of any change is that one person or group declares ‘well we’ve decided on this course of action now you just have to fit in with it. It is a catastrophe only to be avoid- ed through fully open inclusive communication not just in school but for everyone. Flexible cooperative working is the only way that programmes like SAfE can succeed. Anything else may flounder, something we must avoid for surely our next generations deserve our attention to detail, imbedding our knowledge via collaboration - illustrated by open inclusive communication for all.


(Schools Alliance for Excellence)

Governors will have received the concept of SAfE as a hub sent out through schools by Ani Magill and Dave Hill. Maria Dawes and Ruth Merton also prepared a video and slide presentation for a webinar to governors pre- sented on the evening of the 19th June. A link to their event is on the SGA website training page.

From the original concepts of a Schools - Led System by the Nuffield Trust in 2010 the importance of good governance leading - Cooperation Collaboration and Communication between schools as vital to its success has been well documented.