'Strong governing bodies challenge and support schools to set a clear vision and ethos and provide an excellent service for the children and parents in their communities. They are a crucial component of effective school leadership. Ofsted has found that where governance is good, standards of attainment are likely to be higher; and the behaviour of pupils, the quality of teaching and the leadership and management of schools are also more likely to be good'
(Promoting Excellence for All, DCSF, 2008)
Some governing bodies do not have the capacity
to undertake the role of critical friend, which has a negative impact on their ability to drive school improvement. There may be a number of reasons why this situation arises, for example; how the governing body operates/organises business, the skills/experiences of governors, how much training is undertaken, attendance levels at meetings, current vacancy rates and recruitment levels.
If there are elements of this practice within your governing body – what can you (or your group) do to change the way you operate?
The National Strategies – Stronger Governance Systems suggests that governors should ask themselves what issues they feel affect the effectiveness of their governing body. For example:
- Governors are purposely or otherwise given so much information that they cannot extract the important from the relevant
- Governors are not given the information they need to do the job and either do not realise or feel unable to challenge the school's leadership on this
- Governors are not given the relevant induction into their role in school improvement so miss key aspects
- Governors become unnecessarily involved in day-to-day operational matters that are not their remit or responsibility
- The quantity of governor engagement is high but the quality and therefore impact is poor due to lack of training and/or support
By asking what you could do to address these issues a clearer picture should emerge on what the areas for improvement and/or development are.
Following your review and to ensure that any change in practice is embedded, a policy of incremental change rather than a quick fix gain is recommended – a longer term solution will often maximise gains in raising standards.