Effective, highly functioning boards and educational leaders add value to a school’s operations, thus enhancing the welfare of the students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni.
To ensure their proficiency, effective school boards and leaders engage in regular professional development, they think strategically, and they evaluate their individual and collective effectiveness.
OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE offers a range of services to support the effectiveness of school boards and leaders, encouraging best practice in the domains of outcomes, processes, community engagement, ethos and strategic intent.
In offering its services to school boards, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE seeks to ensure the highest quality and professional standards. With this in mind, the following Code of Practice represents our undertaking to all clients with whom we work.
- At all times, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will make the client’s needs its primary focus and will seek to maximise the value generated to the school/board/client.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will not seek to gain additional work in the school, or any other benefits, which could be seen as consequent upon the outcome of any evaluation or review.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will advise the school of any significant concerns it has with the client’s expectations and the ability of OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE to meet those expectations.
- Related to this, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will only accept work which it is competent to perform, and will refrain from making any misleading claims about its capabilities or experience.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will act ethically to ensure that all advice and services offered is in the best interests of the school/board/client as a whole.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will maintain absolute confidentiality regarding its work, including signing a confidentiality agreement if requested.
- Unless otherwise mutually agreed, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE and the client will work together to ensure that all interviews (whether in person, by phone or by any other means) are conducted confidentially.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will never use any confidential information obtained for personal benefit, professional benefit, or the benefit of third parties.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will only reveal that it has worked with a particular client/school/board with the written permission of that board.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will work with tact, courtesy, diplomacy and respect for all individuals within the school and its board.
- At the same time, opinions expressed by OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will be full, frank, independent, based on the best data and information available, and offered without consideration of OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE’s own interests.
- The representatives of OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will be fit and proper persons to provide support for clients/schools/boards, including the conduct of independent evaluations, and will be people of good reputation and character who are safe to work in the sensitive environments of schools with students of any age.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will ensure that all advice, recommendations and solutions are based on impartial observations and data, together with a reflective analysis of all the available information and viewpoints, and are presented in a form that is readily understood by the client.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will disclose at the earliest opportunity any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest or other circumstances that might affect its judgement or ability to undertake work on an impartial basis.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will not accept any hospitality, discounts, gifts or commissions that could be an inducement to show favour to any person or organisation.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE has systems in place to ensure quality control throughout the work assignment as well as internal post-assignment reviews on the effectiveness of the work assignment.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE offers a wide range of services, and undertakes that its personnel will be competent and capable of performing all of them to an excellent standard.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE personnel working with clients/schools/boards shall have had direct experience of both board practice and senior educational administration, they shall possess strong interpersonal and communication skills, and they shall possess political sensitivity, initiative, up-to-date professional knowledge and a degree of financial expertise.
- In recognising that every school is different, both philosophically and functionally, and that every client’s/school’s/board’s need is different, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE undertakes to tailor the scope and nature of work in an individualised way that will effectively address identified needs.
- Whenever possible and if appropriate, work with clients/schools/boards is preceded by data gathering, usually in the form of confidential questionnaires and/or individual or small group interviews with relevant personnel.
- It is understood that in order to perform its work effectively, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE may need access to documents that are not in the public domain, including documents that are subject to confidentiality agreements, and when this is so, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE commits to maintaining total confidentiality.
- It is expected that OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will have the capability of generating insights that the client/school/board would not have been able, or willing, to generate itself.
- If required, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE is willing to return after an agreed period (usually specified within the articulation of the scope of work) to assess progress and assist with follow up work as required.
- Although OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE provides advice and expertise, it is the client/school/board that ultimately owns any evaluation process and recommendations for improvements, and it is expected that clients will therefore commit themselves (individually and collectively as appropriate) wholeheartedly to working with OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will work closely with the board chair / school principal / client (or whomever is responsible for engaging OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE) in partnership to motivate all relevant personnel and encourage their participation.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE may need to observe board meetings, as well as meetings of board committees or other closed meetings as part of its support, and it is understood that such confidential access will be provided to OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE may need to have access to board documents and records, including commercial documents, and it is understood that such access will be provided to OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE on a confidential basis.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will be granted scope to report any findings and/or suggestions in a manner that maximises its value to the client. It is expected that while such reporting will be data-based, discreet and balanced, it may also be ‘courageous’, perhaps even to the point of being unwelcome to some personnel.
- It is understood that some information obtained by OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE may be of a sensitive nature, and as such should not appear in a main written report. In such cases, OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will work with the client to agree on whether and how such information should be brought to the attention of other relevant personnel without compromising either the integrity of the report or the welfare of any individuals concerned.
4. Prescribing the relationship
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE and the client will communicate openly and transparently through agreed channels at all times.
- An agreement outlining the scope of work, its time frame, and the level of public reporting at its conclusion shall be agreed before OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE commences work, and may be changed by mutual agreement as the work progresses.
- OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE will take into account all feedback provided by the school board through agreed channels, and shall seek formal post-work feedback from the school board on the outcomes and the process undertaken.
- Unless mutually agreed otherwise, the client will offer the names and contact details of personnel who will act as referees for OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE to supply to its potential clients.
- As an Affiliated Consultant of CIS (Council of International Schools), OPTIMAL SCHOOL GOVERNANCE adheres strictly to the rigorous requirements and ethics of CIS, having been evaluated thoroughly by CIS to ensure their high standards for quality service are achieved.
Please contact us if you have any questions about this Code of Practice.