It is very important that schools establish well planned, effective procedures and systems for handover to a new headteacher. This toolkit is offered to school governors as an example of good practice to ensure the smooth transition from one headteacher to another.
The governing body's role in managing a smooth transition is crucial. The aim of this toolkit is to ensure that the new headteacher rapidly learns about the key documents (including financial accounts), policies and procedures of their new school and has all the necessary information required in order to fulfil their responsibilities effectively.
1. The outgoing headteacher should ensure that all the information contained in these handover procedures are up to date, accurate and completed before the leaving date. This should be in collaboration with the Chair of Governors. The information should be organised so that it is easily accessible.
2. There should be a formal handover meeting, ideally convened by the Chair. This should take place at a mutually agreed time, before the departure of the outgoing headteacher and prior to the new headteacher taking up post. The School's Effectiveness Partner will support the school in this process, if required.
3. At this meeting, the incoming headteacher should ensure that the checklist is complete and documents identified. If there is anything missing or incomplete, then this should be rectified before the outgoing headteacher leaves. The Chair should ensure that this is done.
4. A copy of the checklist should be retained by the school and a copy given to the Chair of Governors
Possible Adjustments to the Process:
1. It is recommended that this toolkit is used to support an interim/acting headteacher. It should also be used even if the incoming headteacher is the current deputy in the school.
2. If a headteacher is absent from the school for a sustained period of time, possibly as a result of long term sick leave, and this then results in a change of leadership, the Chair, together with the Senior Leadership Team, should draw together the required information.
3. Some governing bodies may well decide to choose to lengthen the period of handover and there may well be a sequence of handover meetings. The benefit of this approach is to give a good amount of time allocated to each significant element/theme.