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Tackling 'amateurish' governance


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Ofsted Inspector Rob Hackfath discussed school performance in the West Midlands and priorities for good governance at a governors' conference in Walsall on 14 May 2016.

Published in: Education

Tackling 'amateurish' governance

  1. 1. Date Tackling ‘Amateurish’ Governance Governors’ Conference Rob Hackfath HMI Ofsted, West Midlands 14 May 2016
  2. 2. The Future of Inspection How are we doing in the West Midlands? What are our priorities for governance? Delegate Discussion and Questions
  3. 3.  The overall performance of secondary schools continues to lag behind that of primaries.  This is a divided nation after the age of 11: children in the North and the Midlands are much less likely to attend a good or outstanding secondary school. Annual Report 2014/15
  4. 4.  Structural solutions alone will not be enough to address this gap in quality. We need better oversight, more good leaders and teachers, and a greater focus on the most disadvantaged, particularly in isolated areas of the country.  Schools working in isolation are more likely to decline than those working as part of a group of schools, whether that is with the local authority or a multi- academy trust. Annual Report 2014/15
  5. 5. How are we doing in the West Midlands?
  6. 6. The proportion of good or better early years by local authority, August 2015
  7. 7. | 7 The proportion of good or better primary schools by local authority, December 2015
  8. 8. The proportion of good or better secondary schools by local authority, December 2015
  9. 9. FSM attainment by local authority (5+ GCSEs including English and maths) 2015
  10. 10. Outcomes for looked after children in the West Midlands 27% 40%
  11. 11. West Midlands Priorities 2015/16
  12. 12. What are our priorities for governance?
  13. 13. The role that governance plays in an increasingly autonomous education system HMCI Sir Michael Wilshaw Nov 2015: "21st century governance needed for 21st century schools. Five hundred failing governing boards identified by Ofsted this year – time for a re-think? Governors and trustees are there to set the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction. They are also expected to hold the headteacher to account for the performance of teachers and pupils, and to ensure that public money is being well spent.”
  14. 14. The importance of governance “It would be unrealistic to expect every member of the governing board to have a deep knowledge of educational issues. However, for the 2 or 3 people who hold the most senior roles on the board, and who could be responsible for ‘cascading’ training to other members, I believe this is essential.”
  15. 15. Inspectors will consider whether governors:  work effectively with leaders to communicate the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school and develop a culture of ambition  provide a balance of challenge and support to leaders, understanding the strengths and areas needing improvement at the school  provide support for an effective headteacher or are hindering school improvement because of a lack of understanding of the issues facing the school  understand how the school makes decisions about teachers’ salary progression and performance  performance manage the headteacher rigorously
  16. 16. Inspectors will consider whether governors:  understand the impact of teaching, learning and assessment on the progress of pupils currently in the school  ensure that assessment information from leaders provides governors with sufficient and accurate information to ask probing questions about outcomes for pupils  ensure that the school’s finances are properly managed and can evaluate how the school is using the pupil premium and the primary PE and sport premium  are transparent and accountable, including in recruitment of staff, governance structures, attendance at meetings and contact with parents.
  17. 17.  Inspectors will recommend an external review if governance is weak.  Under ‘What the school should do to improve further’, inspectors should use the following words in the report: ‘An external review of governance should be undertaken in order to assess how this aspect of leadership and management may be improved.’  The school should decide how this review will take place and commission it. Reviews should be developmental. They do not represent a further inspection, although inspectors will follow up on the review during any subsequent inspection. Full details of what might be the form and nature of such reviews can be found at: External reviews of governance
  18. 18. In the most effective schools, governors know the school well and provide robust challenge to senior leaders This analysis is based on what inspectors chose to comment on as particular strengths.
  19. 19. Common issues with governance noted in inspection reports  not ambitious about expectations  lack of a critical friend approach  over-reliance on information from the headteacher  lack of systematic visits to school  lack of engagement with school development planning  limited role in monitoring, and none of it ‘independent’  limited understanding of data and the school’s effectiveness.
  20. 20. Delegate Discussion leading to Questions
  21. 21. Discussion: How well does your governing body monitor the impact of the Pupil Premium funding?
  22. 22. Common issues with governance noted in inspection reports Discussion: Do you recognise these issues in your governors board and if so what can be done by you to address this? HT Fan club Partnership Go-alongs Antagonists
  23. 23. Questions to consider
  24. 24. Questions to consider  What is your evaluation of the school’s overall effectiveness at this stage of its development?  How do you know?  Consider areas for improvement and vulnerabilities: leadership, governance, staffing, finance, roll, premises  How have governors supported and challenged the performance of the school in relation to teaching, learning and assessment?  Can you provide a practical example?  What is the impact on learners and staff in the school?  How do you know this?
  25. 25. Questions to consider  What is your involvement in the performance management of the headteacher and the staff?  What proportion of the teaching staff made progress up the school’s pay scale last year?  How do you know this?  How well are the pupils in Year 1/3/8 doing?  Is the assessment information that you are given accurate?  Which groups of pupils in which year groups are you particularly concerned about at the present time?  How do you know?
  26. 26. Questions to consider  Can we discuss the use of funding for disadvantaged pupils?  Where has the funding had its biggest impact?  In which year group has the funding not enabled disadvantaged pupils to catch up with their peers?  What is the school doing about this?  Last year, pupils did not reach the national average in mathematics at the end of Key Stage 4.  What changes has the school made to address this issue?  Has the curriculum been changed to address this underachievement?  How do you know?
  27. 27. And many of our presentations are at: Ofsted on the web and on social media @Ofstednews