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Action-focused governance: the role of governance in driving meaningful action in COBIS schools - Annual Conference Speaker Highlight
  • Schools

Written by Dr Helen Wright, International Education Adviser, former Chair of the British School of Amsterdam, and Annual Conference Speaker.

Professor John Dewey, the great 20th century western educator and philosopher, once wrote that “As a society becomes more enlightened, it realizes that it is responsible not to transmit and conserve the whole of its existing achievements, but only such as make for a better future society. The school is its chief agency for the accomplishment of this end.” COBIS schools are amongst the best in the world, and most school leaders would willingly accept that they have a responsibility to make a positive difference in society, wherever they are situated; do, however, our governing documents reflect this goal? If so, how are Governors ensuring that their school contributes to this mission; if the governing documents do not reflect this goal, how do Governors reconcile their legal obligation to do the best for their school with their moral obligation to help make the world a better place?

We will be tackling this and other questions in a panel discussion at the forthcoming COBIS conference in May in London, exploring governance through the lens of the conference theme, ‘Louder than Words’, which emphasises the importance of schools turning positive intentions into action. I am really delighted to be chairing this panel, which promises to be an engaging and illuminating discussion  with a number of prominent Governors and governance experts from Hong Kong, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, and I know that we will have a wonderful range of insights and perspectives to share. Together, we will tussle with the moral and practical dilemmas of governance in and beyond school, all underpinned by a desire to do the right thing, for our schools and in a wider sphere; what, though, is that ‘right thing’? Can we define this, and how do we actually make sure that it happens?

Governance is never easy, as any long-term Governor will tell you … but it is the challenge that makes it fascinating. Holding schools and school leaders to account, while simultaneously supporting them and offering insights and different perspectives on the future, as well as playing a key role in shaping strategy … this is all in the role description of a Governor, and it is always a challenge! Join us in this panel to reflect, contribute and grow in your thinking!

Book your delegate place for the 42nd COBIS Annual Conference, taking place in London 11-13 May 2024, now.