The Benefit of Governance versus Proprietorial Schools

The checks and balances which a wider team provides are vital for every organisation’s health. There are eleven Governors at the Dixie, each with their own specialisms, each with their own particular inputs in school life. Among them are educationalists, accountants, doctors, school inspectors and those with an interest in marketing or who run their own businesses. All are volunteers, dedicated to ensuring the very best for the Dixie: they do not stifle ambition for the future of the school, they encourage it. They do not stand in the way of investment, they look to make it possible and help to ensure that long term aims are well served by expenditure. They are involved in every area of the vibrant Dixie school life, continually helping to ensure that the core aims of the school are translated into daily reality for students at the Dixie. Some read to JS pupils, others are parents, all attend meetings, concerts, school events and take the time to talk to students; crucially, they all have oversight of the multi-faceted school development plan, an ambitious document, myopic in its focus on pupil personal development and achievement. Dixie governors understand their strategic role and its place in delivering excellence. The daily running of the school is delegated to me, but I am in regular contact with the Chair and Vice Chair of Governors in particular and never far from a meeting in which governors offer challenge and support in equal measure. Our meetings are effective and provide an open forum for discussion. For parents of children at the school the Dixie Governors should be a source of comfort – that the buck doesn’t stop with me and that the direction and future of the Dixie is assured. Proprietorial schools, and there are several in the immediate area, do not benefit from these checks and balances and as has unfortunately been seen with schools such as Manor House and Milverton House School, they are by their nature less secure – vulnerable to the whim of the owner. The Dixie’s business model as a Charity, with Governors as trustees, overseen by the Charity Commission is far better suited to the current environment as any surplus only goes back as investment into the school, with no return necessary to any shareholder or owner. I am proud to have the backing – support and challenge – of such a diverse, supportive and talented group as the Dixie Governors.

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