Fulfilling and enjoyable headship

If as a youngish teacher you decide to have a crack at being a head, no one tells you about governors or (slightly spooky abstract noun) governance – and why should they? Governors are up there in the constellations, whirring mysteriously. But the best kind of relationships between heads and governors have a powerful effect on a school and are a major part of making a headship fulfilling and enjoyable.

This is partly on my mind because of a governors’ meeting coming up this weekend, but also because I found myself talking on the issue yesterday at a conference run by HMC and AGBIS (i.e. the independent heads’ and governors’ associations) in order to help heads and governors understand each other better and work together more fruitfully.

Reflecting on school governance and leadership and hearing the issues surfacing both in the session I was part of and in the other sessions, I am reminded what a significant job it is that governors – all by definition unpaid volunteers – take on. The undoubted compensation for the responsibility and hard work is that it should be interesting and fulfilling work.


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.