Webchat with Tristram Hunt, Labour education shadow, MONDAY 27 April at 12 midday ×

Governors of Outstanding/Good schools

(26 Posts)
sittinginthesun Sat 09-Mar-13 18:55:21

Just after general advice really. I am a Governor of our primary. Due an Ofsted sometime later this year. Last Ofsted was Good with Outstanding areas.

A local school, which was previously "Good" has just received an Ofsted saying "Needs Improvement". Obviously, we want to avoid this happening to us if at all possible!

I just wondered, as I haven't experienced this before, is there anything specific the governing body could be doing at this stage? What sort if things do Ofsted look at that governors are involved in?

LatteLady Sat 09-Mar-13 19:17:06

SiS, are you the Chair or Vice... if neither of these, it is unlikely that you will be asked in.

However, if you want to know what Ofsted will expect you to know, here is a short but not exhaustive list:

* Pupil premium, how are you spending it and what impact is it making on learning? Can you track it across the school... is it published on your school website, which is a statutory requirement? How are you using it to close the gap for FSM pupils vs non-FSM pupils

* Governor links with staff appraisal feeding into salary, ie, are your staff being rewarded for being good rather than just getting an increase for being there.

* What are the priorities for PM?

* How do you know about the standards of teaching?

* What does your school do well?

* What keeps you awake at night?

I am happy to send you a more extensive list by PM, if that would help you... although I suspect that would be the list to keep you awake at night!

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 19:37:54

SiS, are you the Chair or Vice... if neither of these, it is unlikely that you will be asked in

Really? Is that new, because all of our inspections have involved several members of the governing body, especially named governors e.g. Race Equality, SEN, etc.

I have wondered how the new arrangements would hamper this - how can everyone be expected to just drop their work arrangements to appear in school the following day.

LatteLady Sat 09-Mar-13 20:03:27

Feenie, how on earth did you get them in? Our last couple of inspections have had at most 2/3 days notice... the days of a full GB meeting with inspectors disappeared about 10 years ago, once inspections got shorter and featured fewer inspectors, there is simply not enough time to get round everyone. Also it can even be on the day itself...

I did my first Ofsted in 1993/4.. and back then only the Chairs of various Committees got interviewed over a five day period, with the report delivered in silence with no comments allowed! Just worked out that in over 20 years as a Chair at six separate schools I have done 15 of them... and I have to say with the change of agenda at Ofsted, they are now back to being as scary as the ones I first attended, and that is as a former Lay Inspector.

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Sat 09-Mar-13 20:20:14

I was asked to come in when Ofsted inspected us last time, not a chair or vice, and had only been a gov for less than a year. They generally just wanted to know that we did challenge the school/HT TBH.

I'm now designated gov for SEN and LAC so wouldn't be surprised to be asked to attend again, it was hard with such short notice though. The school actually offered to care for my preschooler while I attended the meeting though, as I had no childcare available at the time.

Latte, if you could PM the list I would be very interested, thanks.

ipadquietly Sat 09-Mar-13 20:20:46

In our inspection last month, the CoG and 2 governors had a meeting with the lead inspector on the first day of the inspection. latte's questions are good examples of what they asked - how they knew standards of teaching was a biggie.
Do you have governor learning walks? Key stage reports at meetings? The big O liked those!

LatteLady Sat 09-Mar-13 20:35:51

Also make sure that you are aware of the Ofsted dashboard, the financial comparisons on the league tables and the dataview. It is likely that information you receive on a regular basis from your HT is much more detailed than this innacurate date stunning info, don't get me started on their quintile methodology!

sittinginthesun Sat 09-Mar-13 20:37:57

Latte, that list would be very helpful, thank you. This is all good, actually.

I am not Chair or Vice Chair, but we are quite an involved governing body. I just think it would be good to have an idea about what to expect, and to discuss in advance if possible.

ByTheSea Sat 09-Mar-13 20:42:25

We have always been good with outstanding features and last year got satisfactory. Ofsted no longer look at the value added; it's all about actual attainment now.

sittinginthesun Sat 09-Mar-13 20:47:20

Yes, I did look at the dashboard. Seemed a load of nonsense to me.

We are a fairly typical school for our area - mixed catchment (edge of very MC estate and council estate) but less than average FSM. Single form entry, very good Sats etc, but not many parents use tutors (the two best performing schools in the area are all tutor mad from Year 3!).

I am very clear about what we do well - pastural care is fantastic, children all treated as individuals, and an incredibly happy school. It is commented on by everyone who visits.

Not so convinced we are on top of our paperwork side of things, which worries me to some extent. We have been caught out (just before I joined) with an out of date complaints prosecute. All rectified now, but I'm not sure what else is lurking.

LatteLady Sat 09-Mar-13 20:47:52

We are currently outstanding... on going through the criteria, we will be good with outstanding features this time.

The goalposts move almost weekly at Ofsted at the moment...

GoldenGreen Sat 09-Mar-13 20:52:24

Ours has just been inspected and got Outstanding again (4th time). I didn't get called in at all officially, but by chance I did have a chat with one of the inspectors at pick up time.

marquesas Sat 09-Mar-13 20:54:05
Hassled Sat 09-Mar-13 21:00:38

Make sure you know and understand the RaiseOnline data. And where there are gaps - say EAL boys are doing badly in Literacy, FSM pupils doing badly in maths, or whatever - know what the school is planning to do to turn that round. What are the initiatives, how is the GB monitoring those initiatives?

Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the school's improvement and development plan (terminology may have changed - am now an ex-Chair).

Have the GB surveyed parents recently? And pupils? Always good to have as much data as possible, and evidence that you've sought out the data.

sittinginthesun Sat 09-Mar-13 21:05:53

Thanks for the link, that's exactly what I needed. I'm going to plough through it all before the next meeting.

Yes, we've just done a pupil and parent survey, and addressed a few minor issues at the last meeting. No major concerns (too much homework v not enough homework etc!).

HorribleMother Sun 10-Mar-13 12:17:40

That's interesting, DC school was inspected 2 weeks ago, went from S to G & I can't see that any of this stuff was mentioned in the report. So much happens behind the scenes, I guess.

catinhat Mon 11-Mar-13 10:12:00

There have been updates by Ofsted in the last month. Jan 13 and Feb 13.

We had a meeting with our school Improvement Partner who suggested that more and more governors would be called in to meet Ofsted inspectors because they are going to be looking at governance more closely.

Understand how good the SLT are at monitoring, know how pupil premium is being spent and understand how that is improving results. Show you are challenging SLT on stuff. Know what percentage of teaching is good, outstanding etc.

DanFmDorking Mon 11-Mar-13 22:27:55

ref catinhat ... Understand how good the SLT are at monitoring, know how pupil premium is being spent and understand how that is improving results. Show you are challenging SLT on stuff.

I agree with the above

pizzaandpinot Wed 13-Mar-13 11:06:58

Have all your GB attended training on the New Ofsted Framework post Sep 2012? If not then perhaps do it as a full GB training session. We also bought in a service from the LA which was a 'mock Ofsted inspection' from a SIP who is an Ofsted inspector.
The key areas that the inspector focused on in our mock inspection were the quality of teaching, the strategic areas that the school is working on (ie what should be in the schools development plan) and performance management.
How do governors assess the standard of teaching at the school? How do you know that the teaching is outstanding/good etc?
Know what targets your teachers and SLT have been set this year. Also how many teachers achieved their targets last year?
What additional value over and above targets set do you get from UPS staff?
Make sure you are getting all this data in your Headteacher's Report.
How do the GB challenge and hold the SLT to account for improving teaching and pupils achievement?
Do you have a good head teacher? How do you know he/she is a good headteacher?

Raise Online data was very important and how that links to priorities this year. What are the weaknesses (eg maths/writing/girls/boys/term of birth/EAL etc) and what are the school doing to close the gap? What data are the governing body given about this and how often?

Pupil Premium money - how is this spent and what improvements have been seen? Be prepared to quantify your answers with links to attainment/attendance etc. Same with SEN funding.

How do governors engage with pupils/staff/parents?
Have there been any safeguarding allegations in your school in the last year?

I took along a folder with the school's SEF,SDP,Raise Online data analysis, performance management and appraisal data,and the Headteacher's Reports to refer to and that seemed to be OK. With the 24 hour notice of an inspection that schools are getting, there is a real possibility that the chair or vice chair may not be available.

HorribleMother Wed 13-Mar-13 17:41:49

DC school is having a celebration day because of their Ofsted rating (gone up).
Is that normal?
Am I supposed to be delighted, or has MN made me too jaded hmm ?

sittinginthesun Wed 13-Mar-13 20:26:05

Pizza - that is so helpful, thank you. I have raised this with the head (I am not Chair etc, just a parent governor), and we are discussing this at our next meeting.

I know that all of the above was covered in the head teacher's report, but my gut feeling is that we need more regular updates. We are expecting a visit within the next two terms...

sittinginthesun Wed 13-Mar-13 20:29:35

Just one question - how are the governors supposed to assess the quality of the teaching? It's relatively easy for me, as I am a parent and am in and out of school with dcs. Also, lots of feedback from children, and I hear the playground gossip.

We have governors linked to subject areas, and regular meetings with the teachers which get reported back. Would that be enough?

pizzaandpinot Wed 13-Mar-13 21:02:54

As governors, we are not assessing the teaching ourselves - we're strategic, not operational and certainly not qualified to be assessing teachers. The assessment is usually done by the head or SLT and anonymous data should be reported to the GB in the headteacher's termly report and in the schools SEF eg 100% of teaching is good or better with 20% outstanding etc. If you're not getting this from your head then ask for it (and then challenge the headteacher on what is being done to improve it further!)
Sitting those are all very valid points too.

sittinginthesun Thu 14-Mar-13 08:17:15

Okay, so we basically need the raw data termly, rather than yearly. The head's report was very thorough and I have no issues with it at all. We just need more regular updates.

That's great, thank you! I have already said I'll be raising it next week and the head is happy with this.

JWIM Thu 14-Mar-13 08:42:23

SiS we get a written report termly and either a second written or verbal report at the second full Gov Body meeting in the term. We get termly pupil progress reports as part of the written report.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now