b'GOVERNANCEThe most important issue in schools at the moment is the wellbeing of pupils and staff.be seen to act on what they hear, not least because inspectors always want to know what is done as a result of any consultation undertaken.Further consultationsTwo areas generated extensive further consultation in schools over the last two years as senior leaders followed up with all stakeholders including former pupils on issues arising from the Black Lives Matter and Everyones Invited movements. For some boards these have not been straightforward areas, not least because of the (often unintentional) lack of diversity on some boards and the clear recognition recently by Ofsted that the extent of sexual harassment among young people has been vastly underestimated. Serious, significant and exciting developments have taken place in schools in the wake of these movements and there is yet more pressure on those who lead on PSHCE in schools, especially with the new requirements on Relationships and Sex Education. These need to befor governors). It is time to reconsider the efficacy of reported to governors, of course, but it is essential thattraditional set-piece days when groups of governors they hear from the staff who are dealing with the issuesattend model lessons, observe elite performing arts in classrooms, tutorials and playgrounds on a dailyrehearsals and sports practices, sit at the back of basis, and know what pupils feel about them. How toatypical assemblies and attend slightly awkward listen to them is a key challenge.lunches with groups of pupils and take tea or coffee (or sherry) with groups of staff. Forgive the deliberate An area which sets a precedent for this is sustainabilitycaricature here, but I wonder if we might consider a where receptive governing bodies are used bothnew approach. Perhaps we could identify a certain to reporting from heads of operations on what is beingnumber of days, possibly spread out across next term, done to meet environmental targets and KPIs, butwhere everyone would know that governors were also from students active in this area, often throughcoming in to see the school in action. They would not presentations to board meetings. These are areasbe directed anywhere in particular but informed of where it is important to listen for understandingeverything that was going on, not just in the education rather than riposte. but also the support departments (HR, maintenance, catering, cleaning, reception, medical et al) and invited Wellbeing first to go wherever they will. Moreover, on occasions It will be clear to many readers that understandingpupils, staff and parents might be invited to drop in about these areas is not to be acquired (or at least noton individual governors available at certain times and solely) in board meetings. Arguably the most importantplaces to discuss issues which have been flagged upissue in schools at the moment is the wellbeing ofor just to chat. pupils and staff, and boards cannot begin to appreciate nuance in this area unless they have an idea of whatA little light touch organisation in the background their lives at school are like. For this, governors needcould prevent logjams and maximise the advantages to be out and about (but in line with safeguardingof the process for all parties while breaking down some protocols), seeking to sample teaching and learning,of the barriers which can arise between stakeholders co-curricular life, pastoral activity, daily routine andand governors.its interruptions. Now that it is possible to do so I urge governors to take every opportunity they canDurell Barnes is head of governance and to spend time in school, meeting informally as manycompliance for RSAcademics. Durell can be staff and pupils as possible. It is important that this is not onerous for them or for the school executive (orcontacted on DurellBarnes@rsacademics.com. 14 www.independentinsight.netIwww.iexcellence.co.ukIwww.i25awards.co.uk'