It’s now around 10.45 pm and I’m just sitting down with some cheese and biscuits and a dram of Scotch, having just got back from a governors’ training meeting. One of the best presented and most interesting I’ve been to in a long time, in fact. The last one I attended, the Local Authority person presenting the session started it by saying “I hope you all know that this is no longer to explain the new system, as the Government has put back its implementation by a year.” No, I hadn’t known, I had done this training twice in the previous few years and it would have been nice to have been told in advance.
I amused myself by asking tricky questions, based on my in-depth knowledge of the subject. You can catch ’em out, you know.
This one was on behaviour and anti-bullying matters. There is a new Education Act, being implemented in April and he was telling us about the new jollities within.
I drove through Lowestoft. I lived in Lowestoft from the age of 3 or 4 to 32 and now can hardly find my way about the town now. New roads all over the place. It’s good, actually, they haven’t dealt with all the congestion caused by having a town that is cut in half by a bridge, but they have improved it considerably. However, I did find myself driving down a road I hadn’t known existed. I didn’t lose my bearings, so I wasn’t very late…
I was bored stiff within the first three minutes. He asked for the general principles one should be considering when drawing up a school’s Behavioural Policy. The usual jargon was mentioned. ‘Whole-school ethos.’ ‘Respect, not only from pupil to teacher, but from pupil to pupil, pupil for him- or herself, teacher for pupil.’ ‘Work ethic’ .. and all the rest. Worthy and true, but we’ve been there before, so many times. But, skilful instructor that we had, he spotted instantly that we’d all been there, done …… I’ll spare you the cliché. He had his Powerpoint presentation, but skimmed over whole pages – “don’t need to tell you about that, it’s in the hand-out. Let’s talk about what it really means.”
Two and a quarter hours (no one minded that it overran) well spent. I found myself asking lots of questions and stating quite a lot of opinions/facts (hey, with me, aren’t they the same thing? heh heh), some of which were really quite pertinent. I also asked my nasty question, which was ducked the last time I asked it (which I mentioned).
“If a pupil has been excluded from one school and you have a place available, the Local Authority can compel you to accept him/her. However, what is the legal position if the exclusion has been for physical violence against another pupil or member of staff, and the Governing Body fears that it could happen again?” He replied that the LA can still oblige the school to take the pupil. “What if it happens again, the parent or teacher finds that there was a demonstrable risk and sues? Whose is the liability.” He did a bit of sensible fudging. “So, if the Head and the Governors refuse to take the pupil, but are overruled, they are in the clear? It will be the LA that will be sued?”
He said, for a definitive answer, that it would be necessary to consult the legal department of the LA. I apologised for asking a mean question, said that my school has been well supported by the LA and they only do what the Government tells them.
My speciality is in being absolutely horrible and then being awfully nice. Wrong-foots people. I’m good cop, bad cop, all on my own.
At the end, I gave him a top-notch evaluation (we have a Sheet of Judgment to fill in), except that he didn’t give out the hand-outs until the end. I said that I can see why, he doesn’t want us to read rather than listen, but it means your notes are on a separate piece of paper, rather than against the item they are relevant to. I also said the room was too hot, but that was on a different evaluation.
Another full day tomorrow, a meeting all morning, shop all afternoon and Women’s Institute in the evening. I’m doing the table flowers. I’m sorry to say that I will probably buy four pretty flowering pot plants, rather than spend an hour arranging flowers.