Our wonderful Memorial Library, setting this morning for an act of commemoration, is a place as serious and beautiful as anywhere here. It is used sparingly for things other than study. Friday evening was one of those rare other occasions: the Library became the setting for the Governing Board and members of my senior team to say thanks and goodbye over dinner to a quartet of departing governors who had completed their eight years’ service.
Useful and timely therefore to be reminded about what governors do: they appoint heads and bursars; they are the trustees of the school’s values; they oversee the financial management of the school; they bring specialist knowledge in areas like education, property, law, finance and risk; perhaps above all they provide wise and humane sounding boards on all matters.
Way back when (as my American uncle says), a governors’ lot was a relatively ceremonial one and was confined to three full board meetings a year. Not so now. Inspection regimes require governors to have a good knowledge of our stack of policies and of the implementation of curriculum and safeguarding; therefore, they need to be more fully involved and more knowledgeable. They also all serve on sub-committees and some take responsibility for individual areas, such as risk and staff welfare. Within our departing quartet, Francesca Bayliss and Brian Johnson had both chaired our Education Committee which has been such an important element in the development of teaching and learning across our schools. Daniel Alexander and Tim Parker have likewise made considerable contributions in areas that their expertise in law and business have equipped them so well to do.
These are immensely well qualified and in demand people who are all volunteers. It was wonderful to have such a fitting opportunity to express the community’s appreciation to them for all they have done for us over the past eight years.