Primary Blogging

Collecting blogs about primary education

Governance. Post supplied by Andy Scotland @asctty

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From the Ofsted subsidiary guidance (April 2013)…

  1. Whatever the mode of governance, inspectors must evaluate the extent to which governors both challenge and support the school and hold senior staff, including the headteacher, to account for the achievement of the pupils. Governors are not expected to be routinely involved in the day-to-day activity of the school.  Governors are not expected to undertake lesson observations, unless the school has clear protocols for visits so their purposes are understood by school staff and governors alike. However, they hold important strategic responsibilities for the development and improvement of the school.
  2. Inspectors will consider whether governors:

n  carry out their statutory duties

n  understand the strengths and weaknesses of the school, including the quality of teaching

n  ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

n  understand and take sufficient account of pupil data, particularly their understanding and use of the school data dashboard

n  are aware of the impact of teaching on learning and progress in different subjects and year groups

n  are challenging and supporting leadership in equal measure

n  are providing support for an effective headteacher, or whether they are hindering school improvement by failing to tackle key concerns

n  understand how the school makes decisions about teachers’ salary progression

n  performance manage the headteacher rigorously

n  are failing to perform well and contributing to weaknesses in leadership and management.

  1. Inspectors will want to know that the governing body is ensuring that the school’s finances are properly managed, and will investigate governors’ role in deciding how the school is using the Pupil Premium or the Year 7 catch-up premium.




Strengths and weaknesses of the school

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the school and how do governors know? Governors need to be able to talk about the following areas:

  1. Achievement of all pupils and groups of pupils


  1. The quality of teaching across subjects and year groups
  1. Behaviour and attendance (also by groups)


  1. Leadership and management



  1. Other areas eg curriculum, Care guidance and support, SEN provision, links with parents, community cohesion


  1. How do you know?







Pupil Premium

The pupil premium is funding allocated to schools for the specific purpose of boosting the attainment of pupils from low-income families. Funding is based on children who have registered for a free school meal at any point in the last 6 years, children that have been in care for more than six months and children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces. (Approx £900 in 2013-14)

  1. Roughly how much is this for your school?


  1. How is the pupil premium being use?



  1. What input had governors had in the use of the premium?


  1. Is it having any impact?



  1. How do governors track how the pupil premium is allocated and the impact it is having on standards?


Achievement Data
  1. How are governors informed about the progress of pupils?


  1. What do governors know about the school’s Data Dashboard /RAISEonline/ FFT data?


  1. What has changed since the last inspection? (there is a clear expectation for governors to know the data and progress over the last couple of years.)


  1. What do governors do with their knowledge of the school’s data?



  1. Where in school are standards being impacted by interventions?





Attainment and Progress
  1. Are you familiar with the school’s tracking and monitoring systems for improving attainment and progress?
  1. What do you know about the strengths and areas for development and how they are being addressed?
  1. How is the school ‘narrowing the gap’ for any underperforming groups? Who are the vulnerable pupils (Free school meals, children looked after, SEN, EAL etc) and how have they performed relative to their peers?
  1. Broadly speaking, are you familiar with the trends in attainment over the last 3 years? How does this compare with national data?
  1. What does the pupil progress data tell you about the progress of pupils in the school at the end of each Key Stage and across subjects?
  1. What percentage of pupils performed in line with expectations (2 level gains at the end of KS2 or 3 for KS4) and what percentage exceeded expectations? How does this compare with national averages?


Governor visits

The governing body should have a visits protocol and link visits to priorities in the school improvement plan. If governors are linked to specific areas, eg safeguarding, have they visited the school and if so how was this fed back to governors.

  1. How are governor visits organised?



  1. How often do governors visit the school and what are the purposes of the visits?



  1. How is the information gained from the visits fed back to the rest of the governors?







Performance management

The governing body should have a clear picture of the standard of teaching in school and how performance management is used to reward teachers who teach well and that the school is doing something about those who consistently underperform. An important document for governors is the Headteacher’s report on performance management which the governing body should receive at least annually.

  1. How are governors involved in the Headteacher’s Performance Management?


External advice sought?
  1. How does the governing body review the Headteacher’s performance management throughout the year?


  1. How does Performance Management work in the school?


  1. How are TLR points allocated to staff?


  1. How much outstanding/good/RI/ inadequate teaching is there in school and what actions had been taken to bring about improvements?
  1. What impact has performance management had?







Strengths and areas of development of the governing body
Governors need to be clear about how the skills of governors are used to support and challenge the school. Challenge is provided by governors driving agendas for the full governing body and committees meetings, by asking challenging questions and by requesting further information when required. These questions are testing the extent to which governors have reflected on their own effectiveness. Governors may comment on how they support the school, act as critical friends, hold the school to account, and are involved in strategic planning.
  1. What are the strengths and areas for development for the governing body?



  1. Can governors give examples of how they have supported and challenged the school? What has changed because of this?
  1. How are the training needs of governors identified and addressed?


  1. What training have governors undertaken recently and what has been the impact of this training?


  1. How do you utilise your skills to best effect?







Communication with parents and other stakeholders  
  1. How does the school communicate with parents?






Parent view?  
  1. How does the governing body get feedback from parents and the children and how is this fed back to school?



  1. How are parental complaints dealt with?









Statutory Duties Governors must also stay up to date with training guidance and minimum training standards, including refresher training.  
  1. How effectively do governors fulfill the full range of statutory duties?



  1. What are the procedures for safeguarding pupils and how have training needs been met?


  1. How do the governors ensure the school’s finances are properly managed?




  1. Has the governing body has met the Schools Financial Value Standard?






Leadership and Management
  1. Are you familiar with the values and vision of the school? What contribution did the governors make to these?
  1. Are you familiar with the School Improvement Plan and the school’s priorities? How do governors contribute to this?
  • How they are involved in identifying priorities
  • Whether specific individuals monitor parts of the plan to give a ‘hands on’ dimension
  • How frequently the plan is subject to scrutiny


  1. How do governors and SLT work together to drive improvement



  1. Can you give examples of how governors have supported the school?


  1. Can you give examples of how governors have challenged the school?






Author: cherrylkd

SLT, SLE, DSL, Assessment Lead, ITT NQT Mentor at an outstanding special school in Blackpool. MA in SEN/Inclusion. Writer for Bloomsbury.

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