Ofsted better governance

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  • Ofsted better governance

    1. 1. Better governance conference Better governance: setting the scene and learning from the best Jackie Krafft HMI National lead for governance
    2. 2. Conference overview An opportunity to:   identify what school inspection tells us   understand governors’ roles and responsibilities   hear about available training and support share experiences, develop solutions and hear the stories of success consider how governors can better understand their school and use what they find to support its improvement plan next steps and ensure greater accountability.
    3. 3. The importance of strong governance At the 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.’
    4. 4. Since September 2012, Ofsted has significantly increased the focus on school governance  What did Ofsted say about your school and governing body? ACTIVITY In your groups, make a list of the key points.
    5. 5. The context for school governance – what inspection tells us
    6. 6. What inspection tells us  Huge, unacceptable variations in performance in schools across different local authority areas.   Inequality of access to a good school.  Effective governance is an intrinsic part of good leadership.  Good governance is not universal. Attainment gap unacceptable, particularly for pupils eligible for free school meals.
    7. 7. 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.
    8. 8. The importance of constructive challenge Governors fail to provide enough challenge Governors fail to provide enough challenge Improvement planning does not address the Improvement planning does not address the real priorities or is not rapid enough real priorities or is not rapid enough Governors do not know what is needed to Governors do not know what is needed to probe more closely and gather further insight probe more closely and gather further insight Governors do not know if their actions are Governors do not know if their actions are making a difference or how good the school making a difference or how good the school really is really is Performance management of the Performance management of the headteacher is weak because it cannot be headteacher is weak because it cannot be based on any meaningful analysis based on any meaningful analysis Governors do not know what training they Governors do not know what training they need or what additional governors to appoint need or what additional governors to appoint Performance management of teachers is Performance management of teachers is ineffective, as it is not linked to achievement ineffective, as it is not linked to achievement School unable to improve or stop a decline School unable to improve or stop a decline
    9. 9. Governors fail to engage in effective activities ‘The governors were too reliant on reports from the headteacher about better outcomes in Key Stage 2 and were unable to challenge the school sufficiently about the lack of improvement over a number of years at Key Stage 1 as they were not aware of the situation.’ ACTIVITY: What are the problems here? Can you identify four?  Governors relied on the headteacher for selecting the information they should see and were too accepting of what they were told.  Governors lacked the skills to know what to ask for.  Governors had no means of identifying problems.  Problems were not discussed for years.
    10. 10. Governors fail to engage in effective activities ‘The governing body was too trusting. They accepted what the headteacher told them without questioning it. So, when the headteacher told them that results were good, they simply accepted this, when in fact they were very low. Performance management of the headteacher by the governing body was also very poor, with targets such as “appoint a SENCO”, rather than related to the school's performance. They accepted excuses, such as high mobility (it wasn't high) without question.’ ACTIVITY: Identify the three main weaknesses of the governing body. These governors were unable to provide effective challenge because: they had a poor grasp of target-setting and performance management they did not see challenging the headteacher as a key part of their role they had no independent understanding of data.
    11. 11. Getting the relationship right ‘The governing body are very supportive. I wouldn’t change them, but not sure that they are instrumental in raising standards – that is my job and the job of my staff. Governors help with setting vision and ethos; clerk is excellent. They have been very helpful in getting out “all the dreaded policies”.’ ACTIVITY Do you think the governing body has played a significant role in school improvement? This headteacher had overseen the improvement of her school to be outstanding – but are there any warning signs in this relationship?    HT denies governors have a role in raising standards. Sees governors as about setting vision and managing policies, not education. There is a risk governors will not be able to provide sufficient challenge in future.
    12. 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. 13. Characteristics of strong governing bodies Understand their role and how it complements that of the headteacher. Have a range of skills that brings something extra to the school and to develop a strategic vision. Technical knowledge – of education, data, statutory responsibilities and performance management in particular. See and hear from middle and senior leaders about their work – and challenge them on it. Are a visible presence in the school. Set challenging targets for performance at all levels, including in achievement, teaching and senior management work. Form their own analysis of the school’s performance without relying solely on the headteacher. Are ‘exceptionally well informed ’ about their school.
    14. 14. Common features of effective governance in schools that became good Focus; sharp focus; raise achievement; improve teaching; robustly focussed; proactive; raised expectations; determined; active. Positive impact; drive; strive; ambitious vision ; more strategic; provide clear direction; rigorously drives improvement; steer through change; increasingly effective. Strong team; work together; communicates; corporate; supports; unity of purpose; partnership with senior leaders; effective critical friends; shared purpose. Effective challenge; pursue further improvements; monitoring; evaluating; better informed; constantly review performance; clear systems; monitor closely; collect own information on performance; regular visitors. Skilled; knowledgeable; understanding of strengths and weaknesses; financial management; planning. (Analysis of key phrases in references to governance from ‘improved to good’ school reports, January to July 2012)
    15. 15. School governance: learning from the best
    16. 16. 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.
    17. 17. 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.
    18. 18. Learning from the best Providing support and challenge   Acted as advocates for the pupils.   Understood the quality of teaching.  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. Systematically monitored the school’s progress towards meeting targets in the school development plan. Supported the leaders in taking robust action to improve teaching when necessary.
    19. 19. 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.
    20. 20. 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
    21. 21. Learning from the best Making a difference Strengthened leadership by:      providing an external view  supporting the appointment and retention of staff. having high aspirations approving and monitoring priorities supporting the development of leadership potential using skills and expertise to complement those of the leadership team
    22. 22. Learning from the best 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
    23. 23. Reflection Thinking about what you have heard so far this morning, discuss and note: ACTIVITY    What are your strengths as a governing body? What do you do well? What do you need to do better?
    24. 24. Sharing improvement stories
    25. 25. Barriers and finding solutions ACTIVITY 1. In pairs, discuss and note on one side of your paper any barriers that might hinder your improvement. 2. Give your paper to another pair on your table. 3. Read the barriers noted by the other pair and identify some possible solutions.
    26. 26. Roles and responsibilities – the governor handbook
    27. 27. Knowing your schools – data and more
    28. 28. Knowing your schools Knowing your school really well is crucial if you are going to be able to support, challenge and strengthen leadership so that the school becomes at least good. ACTIVITY On your table discuss how you go about knowing your schools. What could you do to know your school better? What information might you consider? What could be the barriers to getting to know your school better?
    29. 29. Knowing your schools: data In March 2013 HMCI wrote to all chairs of governors: ‘Good governance makes a profound difference to schools and their pupils. In a world of school freedom and autonomy, you are more important now than you have ever been. As Chief Inspector, I want to support you to use your powers to drive up standards. This is why I recently launched the new Data Dashboard for schools.’ Take a moment to read the rest of the letter which is on your table. ACTIVITY Look at the Data Dashboard on your table and discuss: What appear to be the strengths in the school? What appears not to be going so well? What questions would you ask the school leaders?
    30. 30. Knowing your schools: data Data Dashboard gives you some headline information. To support governors further, RAISEonline has been changed. Tables that governors might find particularly useful to look at, in addition to the Data Dashboard, are now highlighted. ACTIVITY Look at the RAISEonline on your table and discuss: What appear to be the strengths in the school? What appears not to be going so well? What questions would you ask the school leaders? What other data would you want to know about?
    31. 31. Knowing your schools: data Schools have more information than what is published in the Data Dashboard and RAISEonline. ACTIVITY On your table consider: How well do you know about the attainment of pupils when they join the school? What do you know about their learning and progress in different subjects and year groups as they move through the school? Do you know how well all groups of pupils achieve – such as the most able and those eligible for the Pupil Premium funding?
    32. 32. Knowing your schools: more than data Data are only part of the picture, although an important part. Other sources of information are important to consider if you are going to know your school well. ACTIVITY Make a list of other sources of information you use. What is included in the headteacher’s report? Is there anything missing? How does your governing body use other information?
    33. 33. Knowing your schools: more than data Governors have a key role in engaging with stakeholders – but who are your stakeholders? ACTIVITY Agree four groups that you see as key stakeholders in your school. Consider whether you think you engage with these groups:  very well  quite well  not well. If you said ‘Not well’ to any of them – what actions will you take to improve the situation?
    34. 34. Governors have a key role in ‘engaging with stakeholders’ The headteacher has proposed to your governing body that there should be a new approach to setting homework. Rather than homework being set on a daily or weekly basis by subject, there would be a plan of longer ‘learning projects’ for pupils to work on over the term. What stakeholder engagement issues does this proposal pose? Two letters in your local paper appear to criticise your school – one from a shopkeeper complaining about children smoking in town ‘in school uniform’ and another from an employer, complaining about standards of numeracy. Does this have anything to do with governors?
    35. 35. Using what you know – support, challenge and accountability
    36. 36. Using what you know: support, challenge and accountability Governors must use the wide range of information they have about their school to ask probing questions, challenge underperformance and hold leaders to account for improvement if all pupils are going to achieve as well as they should. ACTIVITY Look at the examples of questions asked by governors in School governance: learning from the best, paragraphs 11, 12, 21 and 22. What do you ask questions about and who do you ask questions of? Think of examples when you have asked probing questions that have challenged leaders to explain more. Can you think of an occasion when you did not ask questions that on reflection you now think you should have? What stopped you asking the questions? What will you now do differently?
    37. 37. Using what you know: support, challenge and accountability Performance management procedures should be up to date, rigorous and well understood by staff and governors. Leaders must have accurate information about the quality of teaching. Teachers’ performance objectives need to be closely linked to pupils’ achievement and the school’s priorities There should be clear links between teachers’ objectives and the training and development opportunities that they receive. Governors must understand their responsibility for performance management.
    38. 38. Using what you know: support, challenge and accountability The National Governors’ Association says: ‘Governing bodies, with their over-arching responsibility for performance management, should ensure that they not only receive reports about whether performance management has been carried out, but also an assessment of the impact it has made and the correlation between the performance management statements and pay.’ ACTIVITY Consider whether your governing body does all the activities indicated here Do you know if staff are supported and challenged to improve? Is staff training improving teaching and achievement? If not, do you know why? Is good performance rewarded and underperformance tackled?
    39. 39. Using what you know: support, challenge and accountability Governors need to be strategic. A high-quality school improvement plan is a key strategic tool for governors to:  monitor the progress that the school is making  hold leaders to account.
    40. 40. Using what you know: support, challenge and accountability Strategic planning ACTIVITY How are you involved in the school’s self-evaluation and improvement planning process? How do you know which of the priorities is the right one? Does the plan have measurable, achievable targets and milestones? Is the plan manageable? Does it include CPD for staff and governors? Do you have a systematic approach to monitoring the progress of the plan? How do you know that actions in the plan are really making a difference?
    41. 41. Support and training available for governors
    42. 42. Planning next steps
    43. 43. Planning next steps Consider what you have heard and discussed today. ACTIVITY Now look at your own school improvement plan. 1.Make any suggestions or amendments to make it a really useful, strategic accountability tool for your governing body to help drive improvements. 2.Identify what further training and support your governing body needs. 3.Plan what you are going to do to strengthen governance and by when. 4.Who will be accountable for making sure things actually happen?
    44. 44. Further reading
    45. 45. Further reading – keep up to date Unseen children: access and achievement 20 years on , Ofsted (130155), 2013; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/130155 . The most able students: are they doing as well as they should in our non-selective secondary schools?, Ofsted (130118), 2013; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/130118. The Pupil Premium: how schools are spending the funding successfully to maximise achievement, Ofsted (130016), 2013; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/130016. Getting to good: how headteachers achieve success, Ofsted (120167), 2012; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/120167. Schools that stay satisfactory, Ofsted (110151), 2011; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/110151. School governance: learning from the best, Ofsted (100238), 2011; www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/100238.

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