Kia ora koutou
We have had a couple of board meetings since I last wrote an update. Term 3 has also been a very busy one for the board as we continue to track and monitor student achievement in a year in which learning has been significantly affected by Covid-19. Each meeting Mr Congdon our Tumuaki provides a report which provides the board with progress against our annual strategic goals. This term we have also reviewed policies and procedures and monitored the college finances examining spending against our budget. We have had several property matters on the go – including the development of the grounds after the demolition of North Block. We are looking forward to seeing this area developed as a communal space for student activities.
At our last meeting, we welcomed Misipeka Ana, our new Student Representative to the board. We are always delighted to have our student reps at the board table and appreciate the perspectives they bring. Outgoing representative Sam Anderson was unable to attend but will come to the next meeting so that we can thank him properly for all he has contributed in the role over the last two years.
Over the period I have been Board Chair I have written about the various tasks and roles of board members and committees. One of our trustees felt it was time I explained the role of the Board Chair, so what follows is a brief rundown of some of the activities I am involved in. The job entails chairing Board of Trustee meetings but I also serve on the Policy and Health and Safety Governance committees. I have a role in advocating for continued improvement in governance and in discussing the strategic development of the school in terms of goals and vision – which each year are formulated in partnership with the Senior Leadership Team and form the basis of our school’s strategic plan. Aside from student achievement, the Board’s responsibility is to ensure the wellbeing of students and to be a good employer. The Board Chair has a role in facilitating a good working relationship between governance and management, and as part of this function, I meet with Mr Congdon weekly to discuss strategic matters, to formulate meeting agendas, and to discuss current happenings at school. Though there is a separation between governance and management roles, a partnership between the Board and Senior Management is extremely important. Ensuring that we have focused, honest and productive conversations is a critical part of working together to ensure our students and staff benefit and the college functions well. The Principal and I are also jointly responsible for being a ‘voice’ of/for the school for the community and to other organisations.
If written complaints come into the school the Board may investigate these by setting up a sub-committee. I normally serve on this sub-committee as well as discipline committees as needed. Discipline hearings are the most difficult and least enjoyable part of my role on the board. The college staff and Board work very hard to support students to stay at school, but sometimes for reasons of health and safety the Board must decide to exclude or expel. Such a decision is never taken lightly as we realise the significant impacts on all concerned.
One of my favourite parts of the Board Chair role is to attend school events and celebrations. I love the opportunities to see our young people thrive and to celebrate their achievements as successful young men and women. As Board Chair, I realise the privilege I have in serving Horowhenua College and I simply could not do the job I do without support and expertise of the amazing group of trustees I work with, or Kate Searle our wonderful board secretary!
Board of Trustees Chairperson