Anyone been interviewed by Ofsted as Governor? What sort of things should I expect them to ask?

(15 Posts)
MaisyMoo123 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:53:24

Our school got "the call" today and Ofsted arrive tomorrow for 2 days. I'm vice chair and will be interviewed on weds morning with the chair. We have all known this is coming as its been a while since the last inspection and head and staff are ready as they'll ever be and we're fairly well prepared as governors too BUT, I'm stressing a bit and would be really grateful if anyone who's got fairly recent experience (I.e new framework) of this could share their experience so I can go in with some idea of what they might ask.

LatteLady Mon 01-Jul-13 21:16:04

Don't stress, make sure you talk to the Head immediately before you meet so that you know what the team are focusing on.

Do you know what your pupil premium is being spent on (look at your school website, it should be posted up there) and how effective this is?

Have you looked at the Ofsted dashboard, how do you compare with other similar schools... you should be receiving far more detailed info than is on here though.

Try the UK Governors website this [http://forums.ukgovernors.org.uk/showthread.php?22155-Help-can-t-find-what-Ofsted-expects-of-governors&highlight=Ofsted thread] should be helpful

MaisyMoo123 Mon 01-Jul-13 21:35:21

Thanks Latte that's really helpful. I'm pretty up to speed with the pupil premium stuff so that should be ok. Good advice to look for comparisons with other similar schools. I do HT performance management so have got a really good overview of all the data but just can't guarantee I'll have it all at my fingertips when put on the spot! Presumably they'll be looking for evidence of effective leadership by governors and our ability to challenge as well as quizzing us on hard facts?

I'll definitely look at the governor website too. Thanks again.

Sam100 Mon 01-Jul-13 21:46:55

Re read your last few sets of FGB minutes - especially if you made any comments or had any action points!

Know what your last ofsted grading was and what the areas for improvement were - and what has been done since the last inspection to address those areas.

Say what you like about your school - if you get a chance!

Definitely how pupil premium is being used - if you have any data to show how that is helping improve outcomes then even better.

Good luck - it is a strange old process!

niminypiminy Mon 01-Jul-13 22:37:25

Look for any areas where data show the school may be open to challenge -- mug up on the Ofsted data dashboard figures, and be ready to answer questions about performance, and how you hold the school to account.

Definitely being able to talk about performance management important.

Also about how you challenge the school to drive forward school improvement.

DanFmDorking Mon 01-Jul-13 23:50:02

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the school?
... and how do governors know?
The key focus of this answer is likely to be on outcomes for pupils. The most important (in inspection terms) are achievement, behaviour and attendance.
Governors would be expected to have a fair working knowledge of the school’s progress in these areas, based on rigorous monitoring and evaluation. This should take place during governors’ meetings.

What are the strengths and areas for development for the governing body?
Can governors give examples of how they have supported and challenged the school?
How are the training needs of governors identified and addressed?
What are the main barriers to learning and what action has been taken to overcome them? How successful have the actions been?
The main barriers to learning might include:
Lack of specialist staffing
Inadequate accommodation
Tight budgets
Challenging pupil intake
Limited parental aspirations
However, the main thrust of the question is to see if governors are focused on problems or solutions. Knowledge of ‘how successful the actions have been’ links to the effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation.

What contribution does the governing body think it has made to improving provision, especially teaching, and outcomes for pupils?
Governors should be aware that, in inspection terms, provision includes: teaching, the curriculum, care, guidance and support.
Governors should have had some involvement in the recruitment of staff. They should be aware of how continuing professional development (CPD) resources have been used. They should also have been consulted on major curriculum changes, e.g. literacy and numeracy provision.
Governors may also have had some direct input into behaviour plans for individual pupils.

To what extent is the governing body involved in the school’s processes for self-evaluation and improvement planning?
How do governors monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the school improvement plan?

Governors should explain:
How they are involved in identifying priorities
Whether specific individuals monitor parts of the plan to give a ‘hands on’ dimension
How frequently the plan is subject to scrutiny

How is the Pupil Premium being spent? (definitely)

DanFmDorking Mon 01-Jul-13 23:50:21

Good Luck

MaisyMoo123 Tue 02-Jul-13 09:59:52

Thank you all so much for your posts. I'm feeling more prepared already. I knew data would be a focus area - and pupil premium - and we recently had a stakeholder planning meeting with all staff and govs to look at next years development plan so that's really good evidence of governor input. It's daunting though - so many things to be on top of just in case!

lainiekazan Tue 02-Jul-13 13:44:54

I was grilled quite rigorously on RAISE online data. Good job I had mugged it up! I was asked to explain the figures and what they demonstrated.

Many questions on SIP and how we were ensuring this was implemented. The inspector really drilled down on this one.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 02-Jul-13 13:51:03

The Lainie - I've just been looking RAISE! It's the data that I'm most jittery about - are they going to expect me to know it inside out? I'm getting the feeling they don't go easy on governors just because we're volunteers. EEEEk!

lainiekazan Tue 02-Jul-13 14:07:59

They didn't expect intimate knowledge of every figure, but did ask about last year v this year (or latest available), how the school's performance measured up against others, etc.

The inspector who interviewed me was pleasant enough, but had some tough questions.

Oh, and I'm sure you will, but wear businesslike dress. We had a tip off that inspectors are seriously unimpressed by governors rocking up in school gate clothes.

MaisyMoo123 Tue 02-Jul-13 14:32:36

Thanks - really helpful. I've just printed data off and will be studying in detail tonight. Did they question you on what action/improvement mecahanisms were being put in place to address any issues that the data might be throwing up?

Good tip on business-like dress. I'll be heading into the office straight after my slot so will be in work clothes. Think I would've dressed smart anyway though as it would help get me into the right frame of mind a lot more than my jeans!

DanFmDorking Mon 15-Jul-13 16:14:11

So, a) How did it go?
and b) What questions were you asked?

Elibean Mon 15-Jul-13 16:54:42

How did it go, OP?

I was interviewed, with three others (vice-chair, chair and chair of policy/curriculum committee) and had it easy I think - our LA Gov has a head like a computer, and knows policy, stats etc inside and out. I wasn't expected to be anything other than a parent Gov, and the lead inspector was a retired Head and really very nice.

Hope all went well, it's nerve wracking, isn't it?

MaisyMoo123 Mon 15-Jul-13 23:31:19

Well, I survived! I was interviewed with the Chair (I'm vice). The inspector was friendly enough but very focused and very probing! She clearly had a set agenda for what she wanted to ask us. She asked us about
-strengths and weaknesses of the school,
-how we were involved as govs in performance management,
-what pupil premium was spent on and how benefits were demonstrated,
-links with community,
- partnership with parents,
-gov involvement in school development planning,
- role of committees in governing body,
-governor monitoring - visits etc
- areas for development
- and data, specifically RAISE online. She wanted to know if we had had training in it and delved a fair bit to check our understanding.

So, it was detailed and questions were very direct with little too for chit chat but on the whole it was a fairly positive experience and I feel like a much more experienced governor for having been through it.

Final outcome still under raps but generally it went well considering the raised bar of new Ofsted framework.

Phew!!

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