Governors at my (secondary) school have been looking at recent Ofsted judgements on governance and these are quite instructive in highlighting what inspectors are looking for. Two Haringey secondary schools have recently (Jan & Feb 2013) been judged as ‘good’ schools with ‘outstanding’ leadership and management, and I’ve pasted their respective sections on governance below for your information.
It would also be instructive to some headteachers (who seem reluctant to share or discuss school data with their GBs), to see just how much involvement Ofsted expects an ‘outstanding’ GB to have. And without this, of course, their own leadership and management will be seen to fall short of requirements. I am sure there are other examples from Haringey primary schools which show the way for GBs and heads aiming to become ‘outstanding’.
Hornsey School for Girls
The governance of the school – is of the highest quality. The governing body interrogates school data in great detail, holding senior and middle leaders to account for anything less than excellence. They know the pupil performance information provided by Ofsted exceptionally well and how the school compares with others nationally. They require improvement systems to be put in place where issues are identified. The close link between the quality of teaching and students’ achievements is appreciated and records of lesson observation information are scrutinised with care. High quality performance management information is received from the headteacher. The governing body ensures that only those staff deserving of promotion achieve it. Governors make their own visits to the school to gain first-hand information. Safeguarding procedures and policies are meticulously checked to ensure that all requirements are met. Detailed information on how pupil premium finance is spent is received by governors, who check this against data they receive on narrowing the gap between the achievements of these students and others. The governors provide induction training for new colleagues and attend courses to ensure they are knowledgeable about developments in education which could impact on the school.
The governance of the school – An experienced governing body has systems and structures in place to provide challenge and hold the headteacher and leaders to account for the school’s performance. The governors have a good understanding of data on how well students achieve and are aware of the school’s performance when compared to other schools. Governors regularly appear in school, meet staff and students and observe lessons. The new Teachers’ Standards national expectations have been embedded into the school’s appraisal policy and governors are involved in discussions on the performance management of staff. They are highly effective in management of finances at the school, in particular the link between staff salary progression and performance. They track the allocation and impact of the pupil premium using the money to maintain small class sizes, provide mentors and support staff. This is resulting in low absence, exclusion figures and good progress for students. Work has been done to develop relationships with parents through the appointment of liaison officers, newsletters and surveys.
Hope this is helpful.