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Cornwall Governor Conference School governance - What inspection tells us and learning from the best Kevin Jane, Senior Her Majesty's Inspector.

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Presentation on theme: "Cornwall Governor Conference School governance - What inspection tells us and learning from the best Kevin Jane, Senior Her Majesty's Inspector."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cornwall Governor Conference School governance - What inspection tells us and learning from the best Kevin Jane, Senior Her Majesty's Inspector

2 Overview An opportunity to:  identify what school inspection tells us about governing bodies  understand governance in the inspection framework  reflect on what we know about the most effective governing bodies  consider the implications for your work as governors

3 A context for governance Effective school governance has never been more important for two reasons:  The performance agenda has never been stronger. Schools are subject to sharper accountability for how well all their pupils achieve.  We have an increasingly autonomous and complex school system requiring highly effective governance which is able to hold leaders to account robustly.

4 Strong governance NGA conference in June 2012 HMCI stated: Strong governance is increasingly transforming schools and building effective partnerships. The role of governors is fundamental and they should never forget that. Without strong and effective governance, our schools simply won’t be as good as they can be.

5 Since September 2012, Ofsted has significantly increased the focus on school governance

6 What inspection tells us

7  Wherever we find success, good leadership is behind it.  In the best schools, strong leaders and governors routinely challenge low expectations and mediocre teaching.  Effective governance is an intrinsic part of good leadership.  Good governance is not universal.

8 What inspection tells us  Unacceptable variations in performance in schools across different local authority areas.  Inequality of access to a good school.  Attainment gap unacceptable, particularly for pupils eligible for free school meals.  White children from low income families are falling behind  The most able are not doing well enough.

9 What inspection tells us The Annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2012/13  Last year’s annual report emphasised the importance of leadership in schools.  This year, 70% of schools were judged as good or outstanding for their leadership and management, which is a higher proportion than seen in last year’s inspections.  A key element of this is good governance.

10 What inspection tells us The Annual report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills 2012/13  Good governance is crucial to tackling underperformance and supporting improvement.  Governance that is weak does not challenge the school about its performance or press the school to increase its aspirations.  Over the past year, inspectors judged governance to be weak and recommended an external review of governance in around 400 schools.  Some reviews have now taken place and, in others, action has been taken to replace the governing body with an interim executive board.

11 Common issues with governance Issues identified in inspection reports included:  not ambitious about expectations  lack of a ‘critical friend’ approach and challenge  over-reliance on information solely from the headteacher  do not visit the school  lack of engagement with school development planning  limited role in monitoring the impact of actions  limited understanding of data and school quality.

12 In the most effective schools there is robust challenge to senior leaders by governors who know the school well, but who also have a secure grasp of their role

13 Inspecting governance

14 Inspectors consider how well governors:  ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction  contribute to the school’s evaluation and understand its strengths and weaknesses of the school, including the impact of their own work  support and strengthen leadership, including by developing their own skills  provide challenge and hold the leaders to account for improving teaching, achievement, behaviour and safety, including by using the data dashboard, other data and examination and test results

15 Inspecting governance  use performance management systems to improve teaching, leadership and management – salary progression  ensure financial resources are managed effectively  operate in such a way that statutory duties are met and priorities are approved  engage with key stakeholders  use the pupil premium and other resources to overcome barriers to learning – performance of groups of pupils  recommend an external review of governance

16 School governance: learning from the best

17 Learning from the best Knowing their schools To shape the strategic direction of the school and hold leaders to account through the school development plan:  high-quality information  pupils’ progress data  quality of teaching  visits – focused, purposeful, protocols.

18 Learning from the best Knowing their school  A range of good-quality, regular information from a variety of sources to ensure an accurate understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development.  Did not shy away from asking questions and sought further information, explanation or clarification as part of their monitoring and decision-making processes.  Two key factors underpinned confident and productive questioning:  a positive relationship with senior leaders  absolutely clear understanding of their different roles and responsibilities.

19 Learning from the best Providing support and challenge  Acted as advocates for the pupils.  Systematically monitored the school’s progress towards meeting targets in the school development plan.  Understood the quality of teaching.  Supported the leaders in taking robust action to improve teaching when necessary.  Used the skills they brought, and the information they had about the school, to ask challenging questions focused on improvement and hold leaders to account for pupils’ achievement.

20 Learning from the best Providing support and challenge  All of the outstanding governing bodies visited struck the right balance between supporting leaders and providing constructive challenge.  Three key elements to getting the balance of support and constructive challenge right: 1.understanding roles and responsibilities 2.using knowledge, skills and experience 3.asking pertinent questions based on knowledge, information and understanding of the school.

21 Learning from the best Working efficiently  Role of the clerk and the chair of governors  Strong team working between the chair, clerk and headteacher  Delegation of work – for example to committees  Systematic monitoring and evaluation of progress towards meeting targets Engaging others  Parents  Pupils  Wider community

22 Learning from the best Making a difference Strengthened leadership by:  providing an external view  having high aspirations  approving and monitoring priorities  supporting the development of leadership potential  using skills and expertise to complement those of the leadership team  supporting the appointment and retention of staff.

23 Governing body self-review ‘Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve? What difference have we made?  Challenged own performance  Reviewed systems, structures and terms of reference  Considered committee membership  Seeking and sharing best practice Governor recruitment, induction and training Learning from the best

24 Questions governors might want to consider:  Do we understand our roles and responsibilities and how they differ from those of the headteacher and senior staff?  What do we know about the achievement of pupils and the quality of teaching in our school?  How do we know that the information we have about our school is robust and accurate?  How do we provide the right balance of professional support and challenge for leaders to help them improve the school’s effectiveness?  How efficiently do we use our time?

25 Learning from the best  Do we make the best use of the skills and expertise of all members of the governing body?  How do we know that the governing body is as effective as possible and could we do things better?  How do we review our own performance regularly?  How do we plan our training and development?  Do we consider what might be needed when governors leave? How do we ensure we still continue to have the necessary skills and knowledge?  How do we ensure that member of our governing body are prepared to step into important roles such as the chair of the governing body and chair of committees?

26 Supporting improvement and further reading

27 Even outstanding schools do not openly provide information about their governors and what they do in the school A very small number of schools provide detailed information about the governors, including biographies; the headteacher’s termly reports to them; and lists of which faculties each is attached to. Governor biographies are more common for independent schools.

28 Supporting improvement  regional structure – focused projects  HMI working with schools requiring improvement  ‘Getting to Good’ seminars  training materials for SEN governors in development  Better English, mathematics and governance conferences  data dashboard  Raiseonline developments

29 Unseen children: access and achievement 20 years on, Ofsted (130155), 2013; The most able students: are they doing as well as they should in our non-selective secondary schools?, Ofsted (130118), 2013; The Pupil Premium: how schools are spending the funding successfully to maximise achievement, Ofsted (130016), 2013; Getting to good: how headteachers achieve success, Ofsted (120167), 2012; Schools that stay satisfactory, Ofsted (110151), 2011; School governance: learning from the best, Ofsted (100238), 2011; Further reading – keep up to date

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