The Trusty Hedgehog

Good morning everyone! The Elbow is in fine fettle this morning. She can feel the sun on her forehead (she’s outside), has coffee and a spring in her slippers. She also can’t go out, has had little contact with anyone in real life apart from immediate family and like the rest of the population is suffering from varying degrees of anxiousness. She’s decided that it’s okay to say that this is how she’s feeling in public because no one should feel alone. Ever.

Whilst schools are closed apart from for a few there are a few things we governors need to think about. Governance is not closed and if anyone is governing in a school or Trust where there’s been no information about what’s happening during this unprecedented Covid-19 global pandemic where at least one third of the whole wide world is in lock down then they need to know. Tell them that The Elbow says you need to know something.

The Agony Elbow’s postbag has been quieter than normal which is a bit of a worry but she’s sure things will improve. We’ve all hunkered down and focused on our immediate situation but as routines embed she knows you’ll all start thinking “yikes meeting next week…” She’s had a few letters though which do need answering and so she thought she’d share the answers. FWIW obvs.

Dear Agony Elbow, I have had an email from the chair. Just the one since this chaos started. I’ve had two brief emails from the head and an instruction that if I want to know more I need to check the website. I know people are under immense pressure but I’m wondering if it’s too much to ask for more regular updates? I feel a bit adrift. Yours in governance.

Gosh. Just one email? Did it check whether you personally were alright? It’s important that we all remember people are human first, governor second. The Elbow assumes it did. Anyway that aside there are a number of issues going in your letter which need unpicking. Let’s start with this one does the chair send a lot of emails and suddenly stopped? If so you need to check on them. Do you trust the chair to know what they need to know and do what needs to be done and to tell you when you need to know or do you think that they are out of their depth? Trust is an interesting word. When you’re a volunteer it takes on a different dimension entirely. Now, if you will allow The Elbow to be serious for a moment; she can be you know, stop it; she wants you to think about the word trust and how trust shows itself. Do you trust the chair to chair? After all they were elected. Do you value the chair’s opinions? Do you like them? Mmmm. It’s not essential to like them, sometimes you can respect someone but not like them. If you don’t like them does this affect how you feel about whether you can trust them or not? Trust is not a personality contest; it must be earned and it must be demonstrated. Does the chair trust you do you think? What have you done to earn their trust? Trust is a two way thing on the whole but in order to trust others you need to trust yourself.

Oh, and the clerk. You need to trust the clerk too. Us clerks should be like the all seeing eye or a trusty hedgehog. Prickly only when necessary!

Next up something a bit less deep.

Dear Agony, do I need to wear my best trousers if I’m on a web based meeting?

Yes. Imagine the shock if you forgot you weren’t and stood up. Honestly what a question. And no, you cannot wear your PJ’s either. Standards, darling, standards.


Dear Elbow, do you think that when all this is over governance will be the same or different? Yours in a conundrum.

Oh my goodness…do you know what..for once The Elbow is lost for words. She’s been pondering the same herself. She says she’s looking forward to finding out though and being part of a new wave of governance activity where there’s less focus on data and more focus on personal development and growth. It’s all a bit 1984 at the moment isn’t it and it’s such a worry. The Elbow is going to be more like Trusty the Hedgehog though than she was before…and try and do a bit more self care without being selfish of course.

Right that’s it’s for now and The Elbow leaves you with some homework. Give her three other words for trust and three words that mean the opposite. Now, which one describes your situation best?

Happy days!