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Governance Training

Governance Training for BSME Schools

This 4-part training series on effective governance is based on good practice observed in the UK and internationally, tailored to the context of schools in the Middle East. The overview of the course is outlined below but the exact content of each session has been determined in consultation with a small steering group of BSME heads and governors.

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There are 4 sessions which can be accessed flexibly in your own time, and revisited as needed. Sessions include elements of presentation and input from heads and/or directors from BSME schools. 

  • Session 1 is set in the context of schools in the Middle East and North Africa. We refer to ‘governors’ as a shorthand term for those exercising the governance function in different contexts to include, for example, proprietors or directors. We explore the principles and characteristics of good governance. We also identify the key functions of governance and the characteristics needed for those engaged in governance from a variety of sources, including BSO inspectorates and serving heads (90 mins)

  • Session 2 outlines governors’ responsibilities in terms of inspection and other requirements, and explores what kinds of data they need to see and how to interrogate it (60 mins)

  • Session 3 explores the relationship with the principal or head, including how to approach the appointment, what constitutes ‘critical friendship’ and how to balance providing both challenge and support in order to get the best out of him or her (60 mins)

  • Session 4 looks at the role of governors as the guardians of the school’s aims and values, how this relates to the setting of strategy and how to monitor the implementation of a strategic plan (60 mins).

Cost: £175 per person 

Speakers  - To read more about our speakers, please click here. 

RSAcademics express thanks to all those who contributed to this series: Mark Leppard (BSAK), Matthew Burfield (GEMS), Nicola Singelton (MES Cairo), Matt Topliss (El Alasson British International School, Egypt), Deane Baker (Qatar International School), Anne Gurnett (New English School Kuwait), Andy Price (The English School, Kuwait), Alun Yorath (International Community School, Amman) Natasha Hilton (Park House School Qatar) Lisa Brown (International Schools Partnership) John Maguire (British School Bahrain)Tarek Alami (Education Development Trust), Mark Evans (Penta) Richard Johnson (ISI).

For more information on the Governance services offered by RSAcademics please connect with the team at: www.rsacademics.com or sign up here.


Report: Upwards and Onwards: School leaders’ perspectives on how to improve the Board / Principal relationship 

January 2023 sees the launch of a new report from RSAcademics, based on in-depth interviews with 75 Principals of international schools across the world.  The report, entitled “Upwards and Onwards”, reflects current practice and offers guidance to Principals on how they might best “manage upwards” in an international school context, with the aim of creating productive and happy relationships with their Board.

“Upwards and Onwards” has been researched and written by Chris Edwards, Senior Advisor at RSAcademics, who has experience of school leadership and Board development in Singapore, New Zealand, South America and the U.K.

What Chris found is that for all the superb international schools around the world whose Principal and Board enjoy a positive, high-functioning relationship, instances of massive dysfunction also exist. The two main issues that cause most concern and stress to the Principals are:

  • Boards sometimes cross the boundaries between oversight and executive authority
  • Boards sometimes engage in group-think and do not encourage different perspectives and arguments

So what can Principals do to address these and the other problems that this report exposes in order to improve their working relationship with the Board? How can they enjoy this part of their job? After all, as one of the 75 Principals put it:

“There is pleasure in managing a Board well – invest time, energy and thought in that.”

Each of the nine chapters in our report finishes with a section called “Points to consider and things to try” to help useful reflection and provide practical advice. 

You can download a copy here.