October 2020 edition: Recovery and Rebuilding Better

Recovery and Rebuilding Better

March 20th 2020 was the date UK schools closed and sadly they were to remain closed to all their pupils for some considerable time. Whilst this dark day and this unprecedented time of great challenge will undoubtedly be for ever etched on the memories of many school leaders, I truly believe that we can and will emerge from 2020 stronger, more resilient, and more open to change.

The roles undertaken by everyone involved in education are important, not least those of the sometimes unknown members of the trust board. Since that date in March, these dedicated individuals have had to face numerous extremely difficult decisions to ensure that the young people in their care have been able to continue their education whilst remaining safe. These same individuals now have the ongoing task of continuing the process of recovery as they rebuild their trusts in a much changed world.

Leading your trust effectively in a remote world

Since March, school leaders have planned meticulously and rolled out creative solutions to enable their pupils to access remote learning, but has the advanced use of technology within trusts halted there? Are we willing to learn from the pupils who have generally adapted so well to remote learning and rebuild the way our trustees and leadership teams operate in a socially distanced environment?

We still may not be able to meet around our board tables as we did before, but we must not allow this to be an obstacle to the way in which we lead.

Robert Barham-Brown

Agile leadership

I think I am safe in saying that over the past six months, many school leadership meeting calendars have been subject to frequent review and change. Not only have meetings taken place to meet the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook but also to hold emergency planning discussions as well as strategic meetings to discuss the medium and long-term priorities in the context of a global pandemic. This opens up the question of considering how to hold meetings to ensure all trustees are able to participate in decision making. There will always be a need for face to face meetings, but Covid-19 has forced us to quickly adapt our normal processes and meet virtually.

How quickly were you able to adapt to the ‘new normal’?

  • Did you already have the facility to hold virtual meetings?

Computers, laptops, tablets and accessing the cloud is commonplace in classrooms but may still be somewhat less common in the boardroom.

  • Were you able to distribute meeting papers securely?

Security is always a concern and the way you distribute and control confidential and possibly sensitive information, must always be carefully considered.

  • Were you board able to keep up with breaking news?

Cloud-based board technology allows important information to be promptly relayed across your trust.

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those key questions posed, what will your next steps be? Your trustees are responsible for the oversight and direction of your trust and they need to have the resources available to them to be able to make informed decisions. Covid-19 has caused widespread disruption to life and will undoubtedly continue to be a boardroom topic for some time to come. The potential positive legacy of the pandemic is to use what we have learned from it as we recover and rebuild.

Recovery and rebuilding

We still may not be able to meet around our board tables as we did before, but we must not allow this to be an obstacle to the way in which we lead. Let us learn from our pupils' eagerness to embrace change and their acceptance of remote learning and look at adopting new ways of working to build more resilient leadership.

Boardroom technology has been around for several years, but never before has it been so easily accessible. Today’s board portal technology will future proof the way in which your governing bodies and trustees operate, ensuring they retain the ability to lead, meet virtually with integrated video conferencing and are able to make informed decisions. The technology of the cloud also means that the need for additional expensive equipment is a thing of the past.

When you rebuild, will you rebuild better and stronger and will you ensure you are still able to function effectively in any other testing situation that the future might throw at us? It’s time now to consider having your boardroom on your laptop, your tablet, your smartphone, the device of your choice!

Passageways is a CST Platinum Partner.